Posted on 14 February 2017
Prof Jenny Southgate and Dr Simon Baker of the Jack Birch Unit in the Department of Biology, along with Dr Jim Walsh of the York REO hosted a small delegation of scientists and academics from UK SME UroPharma Ltd and Synesis LLC, a spin out from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in the USA, to discuss developing better treatments for bladder health.
UroPharma and Synesis have formed a joint venture and are together developing novel treatments for urinary tract infections (UTIs) that are non-antibiotic and will be delivered directly to patients undergoing cystoscopies and other interventions that require catheterisation. The mode of action of this new approach is the subject of intense study by the UroPharma/Synesis team and gaining a greater understanding is vital to bringing such new products to market - particularly in light of the need for new approaches to tackling infection and UTIs in particular.
Prof Southgate’s group are at the forefront of emerging biology that has shown the vital role played by the urothelial cells that form the inner lining of the bladder. These cells are involved in maintaining an impermeable lining to the bladder to prevent irritation from urine and crucially to act as a barrier to infection. It is though that breakdown of the urothelial barrier exacerbates a number of bladder disorders including recurrent UTIs.
UroPharma and Synesis are hoping to work closely with Prof Southgate’s lab and form a research collaboration to access human tissue and cell models and assays. This will be of benefit to understanding the mechanisms of how these new interventions work at the level of the urothelium and ultimately aid the progression of a new anti-microbial approach into the clinic to help prevent the development of urinary tract infections in patients who are at risk.