Urinary Tract Infection Research

Scientists continue to look for ways to prevent the development of a urinary tract infection. Research currently under way may eventually lead to a urinary tract infection vaccine that can prevent such infections from recurring. Doctors and scientists conducting urinary tract infection research are also investigating why women who are "non-secretors" of certain blood group antigens are more susceptible to recurrent infections.

Urinary Tract Infection Research: An Introduction

Doctors all over the country are conducting many types of urinary tract infection (UTI) research studies, which people take part in voluntarily. Urinary tract infection research has already led to advances, and researchers continue to search for more effective approaches for treating the condition.

Urinary Tract Infection Research: Looking for a Vaccine

In the future, research scientists may develop a urinary tract infection vaccine that can prevent UTIs from recurring. Researchers have found that children and women who tend to get urinary tract infections repeatedly usually lack proteins called immunoglobulin, which fight infection.
Early tests indicate that a UTI vaccine helps patients build up their own natural infection-fighting powers. The dead bacteria in the vaccine do not spread like an infection; instead, they prompt the body to produce antibodies that can later fight against live organisms. UTI research scientists are testing injected and oral vaccines to see which method works best. And researchers are also testing another method, which would allow women to apply the vaccine directly as a suppository in to the vagina.

Urinary Tract Infection Research: Chronic Infections

Urinary tract infection research suggests that one factor behind chronic UTIs may be the ability of bacteria to attach to cells lining the urinary tract. A recent UTI research study found that bacteria formed a protective film on the inner lining of the bladder in mice. If a similar process can be demonstrated in humans, the discovery may lead to new treatments to prevent recurrent UTIs.
Another line of UTI research has indicated that women who are "non-secretors" of certain blood group antigens may be more prone to recurrent urinary tract infections because the cells lining the vagina and urethra may allow bacteria to attach more easily. Further research will show whether this association is sound and proves useful in identifying women at high risk for urinary tract infections.
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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