Answers to some common questions
If you don’t see your question here, then email us at BiomaterialsDiscovery@nottingham.ac.uk to ask!
What is a biofilm?
Biofilms are a community of bacteria that once attached to a surface, release matrix molecules and join together and form a biofilm. These are hard to get rid of as they are 1000 times more resistant to antibitoics than individual bacteria.
Examples of biofilms include plaque on your teeth, slime you find in your sink or shower, or the green slime on your hamster’s water bottle and fish tanks!
What applications does your research have?
We have discovered new plastics that that biofilms can’t form on called Bactigon. This means we don’t need to use as many antibiotics to fight infections and can help in our battle against the development of antibiotic resistance.
We are also working on how we can get different drugs into biofilms to break them apart and make infections easier to treat
What are you working on right now?
Currently we are working with a company called Camstent to put a urinary catheter we have developed with them using our polymers as coating through clinical trials. For more information on what we’re researching now you can go to our research group webpage here
How does your material (Bactigon) work?
It prevents the formation of biofilms so that the host immune system or antibiotics can clear the bacteria and colonisations. Bactigon is a polymer a bit like Perspex but with cyclic hydrocarbons.
How do infections happen with implants?
Even though implants and patients are sterilised, bacteria can colonise on these surfaces during the operation, for example bacteria can hide from skin washing in hair follicles in the skin which can then lead to an infection.
Do you test on animals?
Our work does require animal testing, but only when there is no other alternative. The University of Nottingham is committed to the 3Rs of animal testing – replacement, reduction and refinement. You can read more about this here
Will Brexit affect your work?
How long does it take for bacteria to develop resistance to these materials?
We don’t know exactly, but we predict that the selective pressure is less than a killing strategy.
How long did it take from discovery to CE mark for the Camstent catheters?
10 years, but we estimate that we could reduce that to 3-4 years with our experience from working with Camstent Ltd-see from discovery to produce presentation
How do urinary Catheters work?
The pointed end of the catheter is guided through your urethra until it enters your bladder so urine can drain down it. The other end of the catheter is attached to a bag to collect the urine. There is often
a valve on the end of catheters too which allows the catheter to be opened or closed to control when it drains.
How long would it take to get approval to uses these materials being used in other medical devices?
From our experience with urinary catheters, we estimate that the whole approval process could be achieved in 18 months in future.