University of Utah engineering students create a new type of catheter

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - The University of Utah is pumping out some really smart students. One group for example is changing the way a common medical is used saving lives in the process.

The catheter, it's a very common and very important medical device. But our bodies... don't always respond well to them.

"The problem is, it's a foreign body a foreign object that goes into the body and it's going to cause an infection," said Nate Rhodes, Bio engineering graduate.

The infections... can be deadly.

So for years... medical device companies have worked to keep them at bay.

"Right now the major players in the market they all use drugs or antibiotics to kinda coat the catheter and they have some efficacy they do help, but the problem is they're really not great long term," said Rhodes.

Enter... the Veritas Medical Team at the University of Utah.

This group wanted to find a better way of dealing with this common type of infection.

"We formed an interdisciplinary team of engineering students and medical students to solve big medical problems and what we came up with was the light line catheter," said Rhodes.

After years of research... the team created the light line catheter.

"We came up with a way to stop the infections from occurring in the body," said Rhodes.

This purple light has similar qualities to UV light, but it's not harmful to the body.

Just take a look at this pitri dish full of staph bacteria.

See that hole where there's no bacteria... that's where the light was used... killing 99.99 percent of the bacteria.

"So it has no effect on human cells but it does have a great efficacy on killing bacteria," said Rhodes.

The idea is so amazing... the team recently won a grant from the international business model competition beating out Standford, BYU and Harvard.

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