WARF: P08338US

Simpler Culture Screening for Mycobacterium Avium


Michael Collins, Sung Shin

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing methods and kits for detecting the presence of Mycobacterium avium complex bacteria.
OVERVIEWThe Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) is a family of microorganisms responsible for many human and animal afflictions. Primarily a lung pathogen affecting immune-comprised individuals – like patients with HIV or cancer – MAC has been associated with bone inflammation and diseases of the lymph nodes, spleen and liver.

Culture screening can be used to detect MAC bacteria in clinical samples. In this process, expensive instruments monitor culture tubes for evidence of microbial growth. If growth is sensed, a variety of assays must then be performed to identify the microorganism that triggered the signal. These assays can be laborious and wasteful if the microbe turns out to be a different, non-pathogenic Mycobacterium subspecies.

A rapid, low-cost test is needed to weed out diagnostically irrelevant cultures.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed novel antigen and antibody preparations and kits that can be used in assays to detect MAC bacteria in liquid cultures.

The system uses capture and detection antibodies obtained from animal subjects immunized with Mycobacterium-secreted antigens. During incubation with the sample, capture antibodies will bind to MAC antigens, allowing others to be washed away. Detection antibodies then are added. They may be directly labeled or used with a conjugate enzyme to trigger a detection signal such as a color change.
  • Testing for Mycobacterium avium bacteria
  • Assay is simpler and more resourceful to use.
  • Eliminates need for expensive instruments
  • Cultures can be screened for relatively low per assay costs.
  • Microbe specificity is high enough that further testing (i.e., PCR) is not required.
  • Method supports various assay formats like Western blot and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay).
  • Could be used for detecting Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Emily Bauer at or 608-960-9842.
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Since its founding in 1925 as the patenting and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, WARF has been working with business and industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.