Sharklet uses micropattern alone – no antibiotics or chemicals – to control bacterial biofilm and prevent platelet adhesion and activation.

Catheter-related bloodstream infections are associated with 28,000 deaths in the United States every year. The presence of a venous catheter often causes blood clots, beginning with platelet adhesion and activation and ultimately causing deadly clots and embolisms. Treatments with drugs, while effective, can be associated with resistance and contamination.

A Sharklet patterned central venous catheter (CVC) would prevent platelet adhesion and activation while protecting the catheter from infection-causing biofilms. The Sharklet micropattern even inhibits biofilms of deadly fungal pathogens, species which are not affected by antibiotics or typical antimicrobial coatings.

Biofilms of common CRBSI pathogens, including the C. albicans fungal pathogen, were reduced on Sharklet surfaces when tested against smooth surfaces

A smooth surface (left) and a Sharklet patterned surface (right). The Sharklet surface shows 80% less surface coverage of fibrogen, indicating significantly reduced platelet activation.
Platelet adhesion on a smooth surface (top) and on a Sharklet micropatterned surface (bottom). The Sharklet patterned surface shows an 82% reduction in platelet coverage.


To learn more about our research involving central venous catheters, check out the articles below.



Bio-Inspired, Engineered Microtopographies Reduce Platelet Adhesion and Activation on Blood-Contacting Materials (2014)

Platelet adhesion and activation are key events in thrombus or clot formation on blood-contacting biomaterials. Thus understanding the complex interactions between biomaterial surface properties and platelets is important for developing vascular access devices that limit thromboembolic events. Medical-grade poly(urethanes) are frequently used in blood-contacting medical devices due to their desirable mechanical properties and high level of hemocompatibility. Moreover, it has been shown that sub-platelet-sized micropatterns reduce platelet adhesion. Based on this evidence, we hypothesized that bio-inspired, antifouling Sharklet™ (SK) microtopographies replicated in biomedical thermoplastic poly(urethane) (TPU) reduce both platelet adhesion and activation compared to smooth (SM) controls.

Read More

Micro-patterned polyurethane surfaces for reducing bacterial attachment associated with catheter-associated blood stream infections (2013)

Background: Central venous catheters (CVCs) are responsible for approximately 90% of all catheter-related bloodstream infections (CRBSIs). These CRBSIs, commonly caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, are associated with 28,000 deaths per year in the U.S. as well as prolonged hospital stays and increased healthcare costs. A common strategy used to prevent CRBSIs has been to impregnate CVCs with antimicrobial agents, which can be limited by the short duration of efficacy and the potential for contributing to antimicrobial resistance. A novel micro-topography may provide an alternative strategy as it has been shown to reduce bacterial attachment and biofilm formation without the use of antimicrobial agents. This micro-pattern also inhibits bacterial migration, offering the possibility of reducing bacterial access into the bloodstream via the CVC. The objective of this study was to determine the performance of the Sharklet micro-pattern in reducing S. aureus attachment to samples made in the same material as CVCs after whole blood pre-conditioning.