Urinary Tract Infections caused by the infection of indwelling urethral (Foley) Catheters present healthcare systems around the world with a growing, intractable problem. Each incidence of catheter failure severely limits a patient’s quality of life, massively increases the cost of their course of treatment, and contributes to antibiotic resistance in hospitals.

Catheter failure is primarily induced by the infection of the urethral tract with bacteria capable of breaking down urea such as Proteus Mirabilis, which cause hard crystalline to be deposited throughout the urethra. These make potentially block the catheter and make it dangerous to remove.


100 million Foley catheters are used annually, yet they seldom last more than a month in a patient. Data from 2006–2007 reveals that about 1.3 million people in England sought help for incontinence problems. The number had risen to 2.3 million in 2010–2011. The market for Foley catheters accounted for about US$380 million in 2007, growing at about 7% per year; whilst the the number of people who sought help for incontinence problems doubled from 2007 to 2011. 

Something must be done to address this issue, yet not all avenues have been tried.

We propose to minimise urethral catheter failure through a novel approach involving the development of novel materials which manage bacterial flora in the urethral tract.