CURIES: replacement of urinary tract infections animal models with a “Chip for URInary Engineered System”

Mariaceleste Aragona, Københavns Universitet

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are common bacterial infections of the urinary system that affect 150 million people every year. Bacteria enter through the urethra, the duct that let urine leave the body, and can infect the bladder, where the urine is stored, as well as the kidneys, where the urine is produced. Women are more susceptible to UTI, and severe healthcare associated UTI often arises after large traumas and urinary catheterisations and are reported after 19.6% of all hospital procedures in the European Union.

A low understanding of specific bacteria-host interactions and associated disease causes, has led to a global misuse of antibiotics that drives bacterial resistance, which now the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers at crisis level. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of UTI to develop new antibacterial therapies. Animal models of UTI, in particular mice and pigs, have been extensively used for this purpose. However, animal models have huge limitations when antibiotics needs to be tested against uncommon bacteria strains and fail to fully replicate human bladder biomechanics. Thus, the use of animal models for the purposes of modelling UTI raises ethical considerations. The goal of this project is to produce a preclinical tissue-based bladder model of UTI that will enable targeted design and safe testing of new alternatives to antibiotics. The project will result in the full replacement of animals.


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