Scientists at the University of Brighton are playing an integral role in developing a new early warning system that tells patients and carers when urinary catheters are infected and at risk of blocking.
Urinary catheters are the most commonly used medical devices, with hundreds of millions sold worldwide every year. Many of these will be used for long-term management of incontinence in older individuals or those with spinal cord injuries, and these patients are at particular risk of infection, and associated complications.
One of the most serious complications of infection is the encrustation and blockage of catheters, which is mostly caused by a bacterial species called Proteus mirabilis. Blockage, in turn, leads to the onset of serious complications such as kidney infection and septicaemia, one of the UK’s biggest killers.
A reliable system for patients or their carers to spot infection early and take action before blockage occurs would have considerable benefits to patients, and could considerably reduce NHS costs.
Dr Brian Jones
Leading the university’s research is Dr Brian Jones, Reader in Molecular and Medical Microbiology at the university’s College of Life, Health and Physical Sciences, and Head of Research Development at the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead. This work is a collaboration with scientists at the University of Bath.
The university has been awarded £148,600 to find new ways to deliver anti-cancer properties from the spice turmeric to prevent or treat the disease.
Scientists will be working with collaborators in Vietnam where the climate and soil on higher ground is suitable to cultivate Curcuma longa from which turmeric, used in cooking in India and south Asia as well as in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, is derived. The funding has come from the Newton Institutional Links, part of the UK’s official development assistance programme and which provides grants for the development of research and innovation collaborations between the UK and partner countries.
Members of the University of Brighton’s drug delivery research group, Professor John Smart and Dr Ananth Pannala, will work with the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology on formulating curcumin preparations to be manufactured in Vietnam and marketed globally.
Professor Smart said: “Curcumin has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and has been used for the prevention and treatment of cancer, diabetes, neurodegeneration and cardiovascular disease.
“It is poorly absorbed when given as a tablet or capsule, its limited solubility being a major factor. This work will develop a curcumin-containing tablet or capsule using soluble carriers or dispersible oils that are acceptable, stable and optimise bioavailability.”
Professor John Smart
Dr Ananth Pannala
Farmers in Vietnam (Bao Son & Tam Di Commune, Luc Nam Dist) planting this crop
Curcuma longa rhizome
For more information on our research in this area visit
A review of alternatives to antiobiotics, co-authored by Dr Brian Jones, Reader in Molecular and Medical Microbiology in our school, has won one of the world’s most prestigious awards from the publisher Elsevier.
The Lancet Infectious Diseases article was selected for the Elsevier Atlas award, given to a single article every month from the thousands of papers published across Elsevier’s 1,800 journals. The award recognises research with the potential to impact people’s lives around the world.
Dr Jones, who is also Head of Research Development for Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, was a member of the joint Wellcome Trust and Department of Health working party set-up to review the current alternatives to antibiotics portfolio, and recommend priorities for future funding. Read More
Dr Dipak Sarker (pictured left) and Prof John Smart (pictured right) will start a project based on a nicotine delivery device with a company called Smpl Innovations, based in Germany. The formulation and analysis research work will be undertaken in our school’s labs from March.