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IP Roundup: Mar 22, 2011

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Nanosys of Palo Alto, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,910,064, "Nanowire-based sensor configurations." The patent claims nanowire-based molecular sensors and methods for detecting analytes in a microfluidic system. The methods include detecting changed electrical parameters associated with contact of a nanowire with the analyte in the system. According to the patent, the sensors are mounted in microchambers of the system in electrical contact with the detector, allowing electrical parameter changes induced in the nanowire by the analyte to be monitored.


Nanosys has also received US Patent No. 7,912,653, "Nanocrystal taggants." The patent describes nanocrystals that can be coded to allow the detection of informative invisible emissions upon illumination with specific excitation wavelengths. Authentication schemes are also provided that take advantage of the emission and absorption characteristics of nanocrystals to create a spectral code that the inventors maintain is "more difficult to decode and replicate than those previously employed."


The University of Minnesota of St. Paul and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research of Manhasset, NY, have received US Patent No. 7,910,299, "Methods for diagnosing systemic lupus erythematosus." The patent provides nucleic acid arrays that can be used to diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus in a mammal. Such arrays can help clinicians diagnose SLE based on the expression levels of genes that are differentially expressed in SLE patients as compared to healthy controls, the inventors claim. The patent also claims a method for diagnosing SLE by: a) providing a biological sample from an individual with suspected SLE; b) measuring mRNA expression genes in the sample; and c) diagnosing the individual as having SLE if the level of the mRNA expression is greater than in a corresponding control sample.


Complete Genomics of Mountain View, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,910,302, "Efficient arrays of amplified polynucleotides." The patent claims arrays of polynucleotides in which the polynucleotides have undergone multiple rounds of amplification in order to increase the strength of signals associated with single polynucleotide molecules. A method of making a random array of amplified polynucleotides is also included. According to the patent, the method includes providing a surface that contains capture probes as well as concatemers, where each concatemer is bound to capture probes at a specific position and each concatemer includes multiple copies of a monomer. The capture probes are then extended to the point that the concatemers are amplified. The amplification products of the concatemers are attached to the surface at or near the specific position of the amplified concatemer, and a random array of amplified polynucleotides is subsequently formed.


Los Alamos National Security of Los Alamos, NM, has received US Patent No. 7,910,309, "Multiplexed lateral flow microarray assay for detection of citrus pathogens Xylella fastidiosa and Xanthomonas axonopodis pv citri." The patent provides arrays for the detection of citrus pathogens Xylella fastidiosa and Xanthomonas axonopodis, including a field-deployable multiplexed assay capable of identifying both pathogens simultaneously. The assays are directed at particular gene targets derived from pathogenic strains that cause citrus variegated chlorosis and citrus canker.


Affymetrix of Santa Clara, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,910,312, "Use of acid scavengers for the synthesis of standard length and long-mer polymer arrays." The patent describes protective groups that may be cleaved with activated deprotecting reagents to achieve combinatorial synthesis of pattern arrays of diverse polymers. According to the patent, the deprotecting reagent is a photoacid generator and the protective groups are DMT for nucleic acids and tBOC for amino acids. The inventors claim the patent is "particularly useful" for the solid-phase combinatorial synthesis of polymers.


Toray Industries of Tokyo and Kyoto University of Kyoto, Japan, have received US Patent No. 7,910,316, "Kit and method for detecting urothelial cancer." The patent claims a method for detecting urothelial cancer in vitro. The method includes using an array to measure a CXCL1 protein, or expression of a gene encoding the protein, in a biological sample. A kit for making the diagnosis is also claimed.


Signature Genomics of Spokane, Wash., has received US Patent No. 7,910,353, "Methods and apparatuses for achieving precision genetic diagnoses." The patent claims a method for selecting and arranging clinically relevant chromosomal loci on a diagnostic array to simultaneously test for genetic alterations that occur in different parts of the human genome. The inventors claim their approach "increases reliability and accuracy" of making genetic diagnoses by dividing the base-pair sequence of each chromosomal locus into segments and then assigning nucleic acid clones for comparative genomic hybridization to each different segment. The segments may overlap for increased resolution and control. Clones representing segments that are adjacent on a native chromosome are placed in non-adjacent target areas of the array to avoid interfering hybridization reactions. Arrangement motifs within an array may be redundantly repeated for high availability and increased reliability and accuracy of results, the inventors claim. Techniques, hardware, software, logic engines, loci collections, and diagnostic arrays are also described.

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Purdue Research Foundation of West Lafayette, Ind., has received US Patent No. 7,910,356, "Multiplexed biological analyzer planar array apparatus and methods." The patent claims a planar array containing biological recognition molecules. An apparatus including a surface normal interferometry platform that contains a scanning pathway and analyzer molecules adapted to detect the presence or absence of target analytes is also disclosed. A method of multiplexing capture molecules about a detection pathway is also described. The method includes contacting a biological sample to the array, and detecting the presence or absence of binding of the capture molecules and target analytes using interferometry.


Yokogawa Electric of Tokyo has received US Patent No. 7,910,357, "Correction method for the distribution of quantity of light and biochip-reader." The patent describes a method for correcting non-uniformity in the distribution of light in a biochip reader. The inventors maintain that this can be achieved by dividing the quantities of light of pixels in a measured image obtained from a biochip, and comparing them to a uniform fluorescent plate measurement for reference.


Innopsys of Carbonne, France, has received US Patent No. 7,911,670, "Fluorescence-based scanning imaging device." The patent claims a device for analyzing a specimen by fluorescence. According to the patent, the device includes a confocal microscope; a means of illumination capable of emitting a light beam that converges on a focal spot; and a means for successively positioning the focal spot at various points on the specimen during analysis. More specifically, the confocal microscope includes an objective mounted on a movable rapid-scan carriage driven in a reciprocating linear movement along a traverse direction by a rotating motor. The specimen is placed on a movable support driven in a longitudinal movement and is able to move along the axis of the objective of the microscope in order to position the specimen relative to the focal spot, the inventors claim. The excitation light spectrum can then be spread over the surface of the specimen in such a way that the excitation light reflected by the specimen and corresponding to the wavelengths close to fluorescence converge on points that are sufficiently distant from a diaphragm positioned in front of a device for measuring the fluorescence.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.