Drug Resistance and Gene Expression in Biofilms

Biofilms are communities of microorganisms attached to a surface. Biofilm formation in clinical settings, particularly on a variety of medical implants (such as catheters) results in antibiotic resistant infections. These implant-based infections cause prolonged hospital stays and increase in health care costs approaching $1 billion dollars annually in the U.S. The mechanism of biofilm resistance developed by biofilm-grown bacteria differs from the resistance mechanisms utilized by free-swimming (or planktonic) organisms.

Dartmouth researchers have identified several genes required for the development of biofilm antibiotic resistance conserved in a variety of Gram-negative microbes. One of these genes is expressed specifically when bacteria are growing in a biofilm. The products of the genes required for biofilm-specific antibiotic resistance represent possible targets for new antimicrobial therapy targeting the biofilm lifestyle.

This technology is claimed in the issued United States Patent No. 7,109,294. We are seeking an industrial partner interested in its commercialization. (Ref: J167)

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