Manassas, VA (April 15, 2009) – The newly organized MicroBiome Analysis Center (MBAC) at George Mason University has partnered with Metabiomics to map the world that bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa inhabit the human body called the Human Microbiome. The MBAC has developed patent-pending MultiTag Sequencing™ technology for the analysis of complex microbial systems under a on-going collaborative R&D agreement.
Dr. Patrick Gillevet is co-founder of Metabiomics and is also an Associate Professor at GMU and Director of MBAC. Gillevet, developed and patented a technology for genomic sequencing in 2006 called MultiTag Sequencing™ (MTPS) that allows researchers to examine, count and barcode hundreds of thousands of microorganisms per day within samples taken from various ecological systems including the human body. MTPS will serve as the backbone of the center’s research efforts. Although MTPS is generally applicable to all non-electrophoretic sequencing technologies, Metabiomics and MBAC are presently using pyrosequencing as the platform of choice for the most cost effective high throughput DNA sequencing platform for MultiTag Sequencing™.
“MultiTag Sequencing™ (MTS) can revolutionize the study of microbial communities,” says Gillevet. Before this technology was developed, we would have been hard-pressed to identify a couple hundred of reads per sample. Now, we are producing 2,000 or 4,000 microbes per sample. We can literally do in an afternoon what it took us 10 years to do in the past.”
Dr. Gillevet explains that, “It’s a new tactic to actually characterize the human microbiome or population of microorganisms living within the human body and correlate it with disease states and changes within the immune system. He goes on to say that “Finding the microbes and dysfunctional microbial systems responsible for particular diseases may increase the likelihood of developing new diagnostic tests and treatments for them.”
The collaborative research at MBAC is currently supported by grants from the Department of Defense and NIH, Gillevet’s team is currently collaborating with researchers at Metabiomics and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago to chart the presence of microorganisms in patients suffering from breast cancer, Crohn’s Disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cirrhosis of the liver and HIV, and other collaborative research lines.
Dr. Thomas Kuehn, President of Metabiomics, pointed out that Metabiomics has an on-going exclusive agreement to commercialize the results of MBAC research. “We are now looking to forge partnerships with biotechnology and pharmaceutical firms to accelerate the development and clinical trials of new diagnostic and therapeutic products based on applying this new science of MultiTag Sequencing™ to the rapid discovery the secrets of the human microbiome.”