Published February 14, 2013
Innovations developed at least in part by faculty at UB’s
School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences accounted for nearly 40
percent of the provisional patent applications filed by the
university in 2012.
The discoveries described below represent five of 13 involving
medical school researchers and 33 for which UB filed provisional
Vascular disease affects millions of Americans, and treatment bottlenecks include a lack of suitable replacement vessels for grafting.
UB medical and engineering researchers are working to
commercialize one potential solution: a way to produce customized
blood vessel segments programmed to regenerate nearly normal blood
vessels when grated into patients.
The inventors are Daniel
D. Swartz, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics, Stelios
T. Andreadis, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering,
Maxwell Koobatian, a student in biophysical sciences, and Maoshih
Liang, a student in chemical and biological engineering.
UB medical researchers have discovered that average antibiotics
achieve super strength when combined with HAMLET, a protein-lipid
complex found in breast milk. This new combination remedy aims to
combat the growing prevalence of drug-resistant superbugs.
The synergistic effect makes bacteria more sensitive to the
drugs. Some antibiotic-resistant bacteria even regained sensitivity
to the antibiotics they were resisting, says Anders
Hakansson, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and
immunology. This new approach could potentially extend the life
of current antibacterial treatments, he adds.
In addition to Hakansson, the inventors, both from microbiology
and immunology, are Hazeline Hakansson, research assistant
professor, and Laura Marks, student.
UB researchers have devised a novel electrochemical technique than can quickly and reliably eradicate biofilm infections on metallic medical implants.
Biofilms—layers of micro-organisms that congregate on a surface—frequently cause hospital-associated infections. People with both orthopedic and dental implants could benefit.
The inventors are Mark
Ehrensberger, assistant professor of biomedical engineering; Anthony
A. Campagnari, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology,
and medicine; Esther Takeuchi, professor of chemical and biological
engineering; and Nicole
Luke-Marshall, research assistant professor of microbiology and
Many cancer cells have a carbohydrate structure on their surface known as the Thomsen-Friedenreich—or the CD176—antigen, which appears to play a pivotal role in the spread of tumors.
Rittenhouse-Olson, PhD, professor of biotechnical and clinical
laboratory sciences, has discovered a mouse antibody that binds
to this antigen, halting its activity and significantly reducing
She has started the company For-Robin to develop the antibody for use in humans.
A team of researchers at UB and Roswell Park Cancer Institute has discovered that restoring levels of a microRNA underexpressed in certain types of cancer significantly suppresses tumor growth in animal models.
Administering this microRNA or its precursors could have applications in preventing and treating cancer.
The inventors include Aiming Yu, PhD, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and an adjunct faculty member in pharmacology and toxicology; Yuzhuo Pan, postdoctoral fellow, pharmaceutical sciences; and Jingxin Qiu, clinical assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.
Each of these innovations needs further development to reach the marketplace but has shown substantial promise in solving a real-world problem. The next step will be to file a regular patent application.
The inventors work with UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach to commercialize their breakthroughs.