New in-bladder treatments to penetrate the bladder wall and eradicate embedded or biofilm infections are currently in research development.

These treatments will place less reliance on antibiotics, something that will hopefully benefit current and future chronic UTI sufferers.

Areas of current interest include:

Catheters coated with hydrogels or antibiotics

The hydrogels and antibiotics prevent bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation – a very common incidence in those with indwelling catheters.


A nanoparticle is a tiny particle which has the capability to attach and penetrate into bacterial cells, disrupting the bacterial membrane, and interacting with its DNA. Research is continuing because of their potential wide usage within the medical world.


A process in which ions flow diffusively in a medium driven by an applied electric field. This method in research has been shown to enhance the efficacy of antibiofilm agents “in vitro”.

Enzyme inhibitors

Like all living cells, bacteria produce and use enzymes to break down or assimilate (put together) chemical compounds necessary for cell survival. These enzymes are a key part of bacterial development during the growth of an infection. Research is ongoing to develop enzyme disruptors which prevent biofilm formation.


Useful carriers of drugs in drug delivery systems.

Bacterial interference

Non-pathogenic bacteria could prevent the adherence of infection causing bacteria to the bladder wall cells or a catheter thereby avoiding infection.

Low-energy surface acoustic waves

Surface acoustic waves (SAW) interfere with the ability of microorganisms to stick to cellular surfaces including bladder wall epithelium. They can also, in combination with nanoparticles disrupt a biofilm and thus access the infected cells inside a biofilm with targeted antibiotic treatment.
A study published in Advances in Biology in 2014 explores these further.

Nanobubble encapsulation

In the UK, Atocap are working on the development of a nanobubble encapsulation in-bladder treatment specifically for urinary tract infections. Antibiotics are placed into the bladder wall through an enhanced catheter delivery system. Once in place and activated they will eradicate intracellular embedded infections.

It’s hoped that trials will start shortly with patient roll out within the next two years. The development project evolved from a group based at University College London.

The video below explains more.