New research funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that a woman's blood type may play a role in her risk of recurrent UTIs. Bacteria may be able to attach to cells in the urinary tract more easily in those with certain blood factors. Additional research will determine if such an association exists and whether it could be useful in identifying people at risk of recurrent UTIs.
Studies have found that children and women who tend to get recurrent urinary tract infections are likely to lack infection-fighting proteins called immunoglobulins. Children and women who do not get UTIs are more likely to have normal levels of immunoglobulins in their genital and urinary tracts. However, even most patients who get frequent UTIs have normal immune systems.
Vaccines are being developed to help patients build up their own natural infection-fighting powers. Vaccines that are prepared using dead bacteria do not spread like an infection; instead, they prompt the body to produce antibodies that can later fight against live organisms. Researchers are currently testing injection and oral vaccines as well as vaccine suppositories that are placed in the vagina.