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Agilent Technologies, DeCode Genetics, Gongin Precision Industries, Chiron Corp., Affymetrix

Agilent Technologies has received US Patent No. 7,147,362, “Method of mixing by intermittent centrifugal force.” The patent claims an apparatus for mixing fluids consisting of a channel with capillary dimensions and at least one structural member in the interior adjacent to the end of the channel. The dimensions of and placement of the structural member are sufficient so that intermittent application of centrifugal force to the interior of the housing causes movement of the fluid in the channel. In one embodiment of the apparatus, a linear microarray of biopolymers for conducting hybridization reactions can be fabricated on the interior of the device. The interior may also contain a mixing area adjacent to the linear microarray, and the application of centrifugal force to the interior can cause the reciprocal movement of the fluid in the interior between the linear microarray and the mixing area.

DeCode Genetics of Reykjavik, Iceland, has received US Patent No. 7,148,008, “Methods for predicting drug sensitivity in patients afflicted with an inflammatory disease.” The patent claims methods for predicting the efficacy of a drug for treating an inflammatory disease in a human patient. The described methods include: 1) obtaining a sample of cells from the patient; 2) obtaining a gene expression profile of the sample in the absence and presence of in vitro modulation of the cells with specific cytokines and mediators using a microarray; 3) and comparing the gene expression profile of the sample with a reference gene expression profile. Similarities between the sample expression profile and the reference expression profile are then used to predict the efficacy of the drug for treating the inflammatory disease in the patient.

Gongin Precision Industries of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, has received US Patent No. 7,148,057, “Array biochip workstation.” The patent claims a microarray biochip workstation that enables the positioning of chips, immobilization of molecules, mixing of sample solution, molecular interactions and washing and processing qualitative and quantitative analyses. According to the patent’s abstract, the system consists of a positioning device for holding a biochip, a mixing device for acting on the sample solution applied on the biochip, a pumping device for removing the sample solution from the biochip surface that does not react, and a reading device for detecting reaction results of the biochip.

Chiron Corp. of Emeryville, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,148,058, “Protein microarrays on mirrored surfaces for performing proteomic analyses.” The patent describes methods for the manufacture, use, and application of protein microarrays. It describes various protein arrays that may immobilize large arrays of proteins that may be useful for studying protein-protein interactions to improve understanding of disease processes, facilitating drug discovery, or identifying potential antigens for vaccine development. Kits including protein-binding microarrays for proteomic analysis are also described.

Affymetrix has received US Patent No. 7,148,492, “System, method, and product for providing a wavelength tunable excitation beam.” The patent claims a method for scanning a probe array. The method works by tuning an excitation light to a plurality of wavelengths each within an excitation range of a fluorescent label associated with one or more target molecules, and directing the tuned excitation light of each wavelength at the probe array.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.