New Methods Developed That Accurately Predict Antibiotic Resistance and Identify Novel Antibiotic Resistance Genes

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The University of Rochester seeks alliance partners to license recently patented technology

ROCHESTER, NY (PRWEB) June 7, 2004 – Researchers at the University of Rochester have developed two breakthrough tools to be used in the fight against antibiotic resistance. Both tools have been featured in the May 2004 issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology and one is the subject of a recently issued U.S. patent.

The first tool, the Barlow-Hall In-Vitro Evolution Method (U.S. Patent 6,720,142), accurately predicts in a laboratory how antibiotic resistance, which is caused by special "resistance genes," will naturally evolve to resist antibiotic drugs.

The second tool, GeneHunter (patent application pending), is a method that can identify unknown resistance genes. GeneHunter can be used to screen bacteria for the presence of "silent," or cryptic, genes that may also increase antibiotic resistance.

As reported in the May 2004 issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology, the " antibiotic market is now estimated at more than U.S. $25 billion annually." Yet, many drugs in that market are increasingly ineffective at controlling bacterial infections because some bacteria have evolved to become resistant to these drugs. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, has stated that antibiotic resistance is increasing health care costs, the severity of diseases, and mortality rates resulting from certain infections.

In addition, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, also part of the National Institutes of Health, recently cited the importance of the Barlow-Hall In-Vitro Evolution Method in justifying its FY2004 budget request saying the method "...will help to prevent the failure of antibiotic medicines in real-life use."

In the near future, the Barlow-Hall In-Vitro Evolution Method and GeneHunter tools may be used to predict antibiotic resistance in order to develop new drugs to which resistance develops very slowly, if at all, and to predict and identify mutated resistance genes. Those genes could be used as targets for drug development, even before such mutation occurs naturally.

Key Benefits

Barlow-Hall In-Vitro Evolution Method – As discussed in the May 2004 issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology, the key benefits of this tool are its relative ease of implementation and use, the accuracy of the results, and its potential applicability to various types of resistance genes and bacteria.

GeneHunter – Also, as discussed in the May 2004 issue of Nature Reviews Microbiology, this tool allows researchers to efficiently target disease-causing bacteria for genes that may cause antibiotic resistance. This tool could also reduce the time and costs associated with determining the potential for resistance in new classes of antibiotics, such as aminomethylcyclines (AMCs).

Technical Information

For additional scientific and technical information regarding the Barlow-Hall In-Vitro Evolution Method and GeneHunter, please see the Available Technologies section of the University of Rochester’s Office of Technology Transfer website available at

Commercial Opportunity

For further information on this technology transfer opportunity with the University of Rochester, please contact Mark Coburn, Associate Provost and Director, Office of Technology Transfer, at (585) 275-5370 or email Mark at

About the Office of Technology Transfer

The University of Rochester's Office of Technology Transfer on its River Campus is responsible for the management of the intellectual property resources of the non-medical center colleges, schools, departments, centers and laboratories of the University of Rochester. Its goal is to pursue innovative strategies to help translate scientific progress into tangible products, while returning income to the inventor and the University to support further research and education. OTT facilitates the licensing of technology to companies, encourages new faculty startup ventures, works with publishers and distributors of software, and supports the transfer of research materials to other universities, research institutes and companies. For more information about the Office of Technology Transfer, visit

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