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IP Roundup: May 5, 2009


The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology of Tsukuba, Japan, and Dainippon Screen of Kyoto, Japan, have received US Patent No. 7,527,692, "Processing apparatus which performs predetermined processing while supplying a processing liquid to a substrate." The patent describes a substrate holder, above which is positioned: a) a fluid jet nozzle that is capable of injecting drops of a solution having "ordinary particle diameters"; b) a fine-fluid jet nozzle that is capable of injecting drops of a solution having "fine particle diameters" which are smaller than the ordinary particle diameters; and c) a regular reflection laser displacement gauge. According to the patent, these three nozzles are attached on the same plate and form a print head.

The University of California of Oakland has received US Patent No. 7,527,934, "Labeled substrate conjugates for identifying enzyme inhibitors." The patent claims methods of using labeled substrate conjugates to screen for enzyme inhibitors in a high-throughput format. Specifically, the patent provides a detectable label-substrate conjugate comprising a detectable label covalently attached to the substrate of an enzyme. Also claimed is a method of identifying an enzyme inhibitor, specifically a neuraminidase or a sialyltransferase inhibitor, by combining in an assay mixture an assay complex and a sufficient quantity of the enzyme to react with the substrate under noninhibitory conditions. The detection of a change in the label upon combining with the enzyme indicates the absence of an enzyme inhibitor. The assay complex is designed so that the presence of an enzyme inhibitor prevents the enzyme from modifying the substrate and causing a change in the detectable label. As such, test ligands which prevent a detectable change in the label can be identified as enzyme inhibitors, the patent claims.

Vidar Systems of Herndon, Va., has received US Patent No. 7,528,374, "Sensing apparatus having optical assembly that collimates emitted light for detection." The patent claims an apparatus for optical sensing of samples. The apparatus includes an optical source, an optical assembly, a sample holder, an objective lens, and a detector. The objective lens collimates light emitted by the sample and, preferably, the optical assembly rotates about an axis, allowing the sensing apparatus to sense results from plural locations on a sample without moving the sample, the patent states. Moving the sample in a linear direction while rotating the optical assembly allows sensing of an entire sample and light from the optical source enters the optical assembly along the axis of rotation.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.