Columbia University

Technology Ventures

A natural protein for prevention and treatment of multidrug-resistant urinary tract and kidney infections

Technology #2610

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most prevalent bacterial infections, affecting 150 million people worldwide and causing a significant economic burden of $3.5 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Standard treatment for UTIs involve antibiotics. However, the rise of multi-drug resistant bacteria has created a need for novel therapeutics. This technology identifies a naturally secreted kidney protein that impedes bacterial growth for the treatment and prevention of UTIs as well as kidney infections.

Naturally-secreted kidney protein impedes the growth of multidrug-resistant bacteria in UTIs

This technology provides a method to treat UTIs and kidney infections using the naturally-secreted kidney protein, neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL). NGAL impedes bacterial growth by inhibiting an essential iron utilization process in bacteria. This can be particularly advantageous in cases that involve infection by multidrug-resistant microorganisms. Additionally, 70-80% of complications related to UTIs are attributed to the use of catheters or other drainage devices, which leads to an increased risk for morbidity and mortality. Thus, the bacteriostatic properties of NGAL can additionally be used to improve the safety of drainage devices in patients, adding value to these products.

Applications for this technology have been successfully tested in vitro.

Lead Inventor:

Jonathan Barasch, M.D., Ph.D.


  • Compound to treat multidrug-resistant urinary tract and kidney infections
  • Bacteriostatic coating for drainage devices including catheters
  • Combination treatment of UTIs with traditional antibiotics
  • Compound to stimulate production of bacteriostatic proteins in urinary tract
  • Prophylactic treatment of UTIs


  • Utilizes a naturally-secreted protein
  • Provides a method for inhibiting multidrug-resistant bacteria
  • Provides a method for inducing endogenous cells to secrete a bacteriostatic protein

Patent Information:

Patent Pending (US 20160136237)

Tech Ventures Reference: IR 2610

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