Felipe Corrales has blown out the candles on 103 birthday cakes so far. He's also survived a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, the greatest challenge for the 17-year cancer survivor has been recurrent bouts of urinary tract infections.
The infections have been managed by Issam Raad, M.D., professor and chair of Infectious Diseases, Infection Control and Employee Health, through various antibiotics. Yet, Raad states, "The best care to prevent these infections is to place one of the antimicrobial urinary catheters being developed by our team."
The antibiotic coated central venous catheter (CVC), invented by Raad and his team of researchers in 1994, was first introduced through a randomized, double-blinded study in 1997 (published in Annals of Internal Medicine).
Now 14 years later, the Center for Disease Control is recommending it for all high-risk patients who continue to have infections after all the best practices fail.
According to Raad, "The CDC Guidelines that came out in May 2011 highlight our invention and placed it in the highest category, Category IA. The antimicrobial catheters are in practice now in Europe, as well as in the United States."
Snuffing out the infection
Raad explains that plastic in central venous catheters, without a protective coating, is populated with bacteria which infect the point of entry and, ultimately, enters the bloodstream, which can be fatal.
"So what we did was coat the catheters, inside and outside the surface with antibiotics. When the bacteria try to crawl upon the catheter, they are killed."
Infection prevention devices have impact
According to Raad, the Infectious Diseases team has developed 33 issued inventions that have been put into practice, with 16 additional patents.
Among them are vascular catheters, urinary catheters and endotracheal tubes. "We've also developed an antimicrobial neurologic drainage catheter that goes into the central nervous system, as well as antimicrobial cardiac pacemakers."
More than 100 studies have been published, Raad says, on the antimicrobial devices.
"They've been shown to be the most effective antimicrobial catheters in practice."
Felipe Corrales is one example of how MD Anderson is involved daily in saving lives and how innovations are utilized to improve our patients' care and outcomes.