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Research project: Bladder Pathology

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This programme addresses issues related to urinary bladder heath and pathologies.

The Bladder Pathology programme employs state of the art biological technology and representative tissue culture and animal models to investigate, at cellular, molecular and mechanistic levels, poorly understood features of urinary bladder pathologies. Our diverse research activities range from exploring possible therapeutic options for debilitating chronic inflammatory conditions such as Bladder Pain Syndrome/Interstitial Cystitis (BPS/IC) to investigating ways of reducing recurrent urinary tract infection through the prevention of biofilm formation on urinary catheters. The Bladder Pathology programme benefits from collaboration with leading academics/researchers, both nationally and internationally.

The programme incorporates three main research themes:

  1. Studying the importance of bladder filling and voiding in maintaining normal bladder health
  2. Investigating the use of medical-grade Manuka honey to minimise and/or prevent urinary catheter biofilm related problems
  3. Studying the mechanisms by which medical grade Manuka honey stabilises both neurogenic and the allergic Mast cell degranulation with the view of identifying appropriate therapeutic agent for BPS/IC.

Impact: Our work on bladder filling and voiding provided the first firm empirical based and robust scientific evidence that bladder cycling is important in limiting inflammatory responses in patients using long-term indwelling urinary catheters. Our work also demonstrated that graded concentrations of medical grade-Manuka honey is a powerful agent for reducing biofilm formation on indwelling plastic devices including indwelling urinary catheters, mainly by using as a periodic flushing agent. The use of alternative antimicrobial compounds such as medical-grade Manuka honey have the potential to reduce antibiotic prescribing, particularly in commonly diagnosed conditions such as catheter associated urinary tract infections. Our work on the stabilisation of neurogenic and allergic Mast cell degranulation in tissue culture modules of neurogenic BPS/IC showed that medical grade-Manuka honey not only has anti-bacterial properties but also possesses strong anti-inflammatory and pro-angiogenic potencies. Thus, we strongly believe that it will augment the potency of current conventional and conservative therapy and minimize the need for surgical interventions in poorly responding and patients with type 3C subset of the disease. Due to the debilitating nature of BPS/IC, many patients suffer from depression, anxiety, panic attacks and poor work productivity. Our work, through the stabilisation of Mast cells activation, will help to alleviate these symptoms; improving mental health and enhancing work productivity.

Funding:

Mixed fund including UK Charities, international funding bodies and organisations, and industry:

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