Light-activated cap for catheters sterilization

Year of award: 2021


  • Dr Inês Gonçalves

    Instituto de Investigação e Inovação em Saúde, Portugal

  • Dr Orlando Frazão

    INESC TEC - Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência, Portugal

Project summary

Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) affect ~1.7M people in USA and 4.1M in Europe, contributing to 99,000 and 37,000 deaths/yr, respectively. Catheter-related infections are the most frequent cause of HAI, leading to life-threatening complications and colossal medical costs. Current prevention/treatment options - lock solutions, systemic antibiotic administration - are inefficient and lead to bacterial resistance, a huge threat to public health. We propose the development of "SmartCap", the first light-activated cap for catheter sterilization. Unlike standard catheter caps that are just used as physical barrier, the SmartCap kills 99% of bacteria without using antibiotics, hampering bacterial resistance. This reusable system is fully integrated in the cap and can be adapted to any catheter, standing out as a safe, long-term antimicrobial solution to prevent catheter infections. The SmartCap will contribute to patient well-being and quality of life, reducing associated risks, re-intervention procedures, and hospitalizations, having a huge economic impact on the healthcare system.