Urinary Tract Infections
Infections of the urinary tract are the
second most common type of infection
in the body. Urinary tract infections
(UTIs) account for about 8.3 million
doctor visits each year in the US.
Women are especially prone to UTIs.  
One woman in five develops a UTI
during her lifetime.

The urinary system consists of the
kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
The key elements in the system are
the kidneys, a pair of purplish-brown
organs located below the ribs toward
the middle of the back. The kidneys
remove excess liquid and wastes from
the blood in the form of urine, keep a
stable balance of salts and other
substances in the blood, and produce
a hormone that aids the formation of
red blood cells. Narrow tubes called
ureters carry urine from the kidneys to
the bladder, a sack-like organ in the
lower abdomen. Urine is stored in the
bladder and emptied through the

Silver alloy urinary catheters reduce
catheter-associated urinary tract
infections compared with standard
silicone or latex urinary catheters in  
hospitalised adult patients.

Patients with urinary catheters are at
an increased risk of infection. These
catheters are inserted into the bladder
via the urethra , or through the
abdominal wall, so essentially the body
treats them as a foreign element.

The body's natural ability to cleanse
the urinary tract of microorganisms is
reduced because the passage of urine
does not flush the urinary tract when a
urinary catheter is in place.

Microorganisms can be transmitted by
poor handwashing by healthcare
workers, breakages in the closed
urinary collection systems and by
movement from one part of the body to
another, such as the transmission of
bacteria from bowel to urethral

Bacteria can be free-floating or can
colonise into biofilms that attach
themselves to the catheter surface and
may cause catheter blockage.  
Reducing biofilm formation is therefore
important in reducing UTI.

One of the strategies believed to
reduce UTI is the use of silver alloy
urinary catheters. Silver has been
used in healthcare for centuries and is
known for its wide spectrum
antimicrobial properties.

The Centre for Evidence-Based
Purchasing in the UK has suggested
the silver coating within urinary
catheters reduces biofilm formation, as
well as colonization by releasing silver
ions into the urinary tract. Despite this,
the use of silver alloy urinary catheters
are slow to catch up, because it costs
substantially more than the current

But several studies have found that
silver alloy urinary catheters do offer
significant savings when the extra cost
of hospitalization is figured in.

MRSA and C-Diff, classified as
gram-positive, are the two most
common types of superbugs. MRSA is
mostly associated with skin infections.
However, when the infection spreads
to internal organs, more severe
symptoms are produced and it can
become life-threatening. C-Diff causes
diarrhea and other serious intestinal

According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, each year, 1.7
million people in the U.S. develop
health care associated infections.
Given the fact that antibiotic resistance
has turned into a major health care
issue, there is a need to explore new
antibiotics to fight the superbug battle.

Working on the development of
innovative antibiotics for life
threatening infections is San Diego,
California-based Trius Therapeutics
Inc., a biotech start-up, which went
public last year

The company's pipeline includes
clinical stage Torezolid phosphate
(TR-701), an intravenous and oral
antibiotic, for the treatment of serious
gram-positive bacterial infections,
initially for acute bacterial skin and skin
structure infections, or ABSSSI, and
subsequently for other indications.
Other products:  preclinical stage
GyrB/ParE, which are novel broad
spectrum antibacterials, and discovery
stage marine natural products active
against resistant organisms and
gram-negative antibacterial agents.

Torezolid, the company's
most-advanced product candidate, is
undergoing a phase III trial in oral
dosage form for the treatment of
ABSSSI (acute bacterial skin and skin
structure infections). Trius acquired
worldwide rights to Torezolid outside of
Korea, from Dong-A Pharmaceutical
Co., Ltd., in January 2007.