UCAP Microfiber Pad Improves Diagnosis of Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infection is commonplace and affects between 8 and 10 million individuals in the United States every year. Despite its frequency, it can be difficult to diagnose in both infants and the elderly particularly because symptoms are elusive and non-specific. The adhesive plastic bags usually used to collect urine samples only compound the problem because skin-borne bacteria or fecal matter often contaminates them. In fact, it happens so frequently that physicians often prescribe broad-spectrum antibiotics needlessly.

Urinary infections

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, urinary tract infections are the second most common type of infection, accounting for 8.1 million doctor visits each year in the United States. Anywhere in the urinary tract  can become a vulnerable area for an infection, but mostly they occur in the lower tract and involve the bladder and urethra. Both sexes can be affected, but women are at greater risk. These infections can be painful and if untreated can spread to the kidneys and cause permanent damage as well as sepsis, which can be fatal.

Urinary Tract InfectionUrinary Tract Infection

BioDesign and UCap

Cardiologist, Dr. Amir Orlev, is part of a multidisciplinary group that was determined to solve this problem as part of a Bio Design Medical Innovation Program  sponsored by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and its affiliated Hadassah Medical Center. He collaborated with engineering graduate students, Eliezer Keinan and Nitzan Guberman, who together developed the non-invasive microfiber urine collection pad known as UCAP.

Directed by  Professor Yaakov Nahmias, director of the Alexander Grass Center for Bio-engineering at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Chaim Lotan, Bio Design is a unique program sponsored by the Boston Scientific and the Terumo Medical Corporation. Their focus is on guiding and encouraging outstanding medical fellows, bio-engineering and business graduate students into creating medical innovations which are then marketed via Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hadassah Medical Center.

How does this special microfiber  pad work?

The UCAP is non-invasive and as the urine is rapidly collected, cross-contamination of the sample is prevented by bundles of hollow glass micro-tubes that draw urine samples from absorptive pads using capillary forces in seconds, while a polymer matrix absorbs the remainder of the urine. This solution for collecting sterile urine samples works so quickly that cross-contamination is prevented and the process is both inexpensive and effective.


Micro fiber PadMicro fiber Pad

Itai Monnickendam and Simi Hinden, MBA students working with the group as part of the Bio Design program, estimate that "more than 11 million urine tests  are carried out each year in infants and elderly patients. This presents a market of $100 million annually in the United States alone."

The future of this microfiber pad

In addition to curbing urinary tract infection, this pad can also prevent the over-prescription of antibiotics. Like all innovations, it must run its experimental course with continued use and approval. Hats off to this team who addressed a formidable problem and by using multiple disciplines found a workable solution that can only benefit the modern world.

Do you think that other infections can be treated in a simlar way? if so, explain.

Closing thoughts on infection:
Thanks to evolution, our bodies have powetful ways to ward off illness and infection and enable us to live long and healthy lives.~ David Suzuki