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MICROPROBE AWARDED SBIR GRANT TO EVALUATE RAPID TEST FOR ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE

 BOTHELL, Wash., May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- MicroProbe Corp., based here, today announced that its diagnostics division was awarded a $50,000 Phase-I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop and evaluate a test to detect antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Targeting metabolic activity, rather than resistant genes, the DNA probe-based test could be especially useful for detecting antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains that cause pulmonary tuberculosis.
 "The technology we are evaluating could provide antibiotic resistance determination within approximately 24 to 48 hours of identifying an organism, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis," said R. Michael Gendreau, M.D., Ph.D., vice president of research and development of the MicroProbe Diagnostic Division. "This is a significant advancement over current susceptibility tests which can take seven or more days."
 Despite medical progress to control pulmonary tuberculosis, the U.S. incidence of the disease has increased more than 20 percent since 1985, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although only 5 to 10 percent of infected people will develop active cases of the disease in their lifetimes, as many as 10 to 15 million Americans may be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the tuberculosis bacterium.
 If successful, MicroProbe's antibiotic resistance test could answer the need for a more rapid and sensitive susceptibility testing method to improve the prospect for successful antibiotic treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis and to minimize costs.
 MicroProbe's testing technology may have several advantages over other susceptibility testing methods currently in use or under evaluation: (1) it can directly detect small numbers of resistant bacteria earlier than standard plating methods; (2) the assay detects a metabolic activity marker rather than individual genetic determinants of antibiotic resistance; (3) it can provide simultaneous detection and susceptibility testing of multiple bacterial strains in mixed samples; and (4) it may ultimately be broadly applicable, since it takes advantage of physiological features common to all bacteria.
 MicroProbe Corp. is developing practical applications of oligonucleotides for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, utilizing proven principles of biochemical control. The company produces DNA probe-based systems for the rapid identification of infectious-disease microorganisms, and is involved in research aimed at the discovery and development of new classes of therapeutics that selectively block genes and disease-causing proteins of chronic viral infections and certain cancers.
 -0- 5/19/93
 /CONTACT: John Bishop, chairman and CEO of MicroProbe, 206-485-8566; or Charles Versaggi of Gable/Versaggi BioCommunications 408-358-4162, for MicroProbe/


CO: MicroProbe Corp. ST: Washington IN: MTC SU:

MS-JL -- SD001 -- 0107 05/19/93 08:02 EDT
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Date:May 19, 1993
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