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IP Roundup: Mar 10, 2009


Accelr8 of Denver has received US Patent No. 7,501,157, "Hydroxyl functional surface coating." The patent claims compositions and methods of preparing functional thin films or surface coatings with low non-specific binding. The thin films contain specified functional groups and non-specific binding repellant components. The thin films are either covalently bound to or passively adsorbed to various solid substrates. The specified functional group provides activity for the thin film modified solid surfaces, and non-specific binding repellant components significantly reduce the non-specific binding to the thin film-modified solid surfaces. Non-specific binding repellant components do not affect specified functional group's activity in the thin films. In these methods, specified functional groups are anchored to the solid substrates through a spacer. Surface coatings are also described having both non-specific protein binding properties combined with functional groups for specific binding activity, thereby providing surface coating that specifically recognize target proteins but limit binding to non-specific protein.

Whitehead Institute of Biomedical Research of Cambridge, Mass., and Dana-Faber Cancer Institute of Boston have received US Patent No. 7,501,248, "Prostate cancer diagnosis and outcome prediction by expression analysis." The patent claims methods identifying prostate cancer, methods for prognosing and diagnosing prostate cancer, methods for identifying a compound that modulates prostate cancer development, methods for determining the efficacy of a prostate cancer therapy, and oligonucleotide microarrays containing probes for genes involved in prostate cancer development.

Stanford University has received US Patent No. 7,501,253, "DNA fingerprinting using a branch migration assay." The patent claims a method of determining the length of a polynucleotide target. According to the method, a target is first hybridized to an array of probes having different, determined lengths, resulting in the formation of duplexes between the polynucleotide target and these probes. These duplexes have a single-stranded section of target if the target is longer than the first probe it is in a duplex with, and a single-stranded section of probe if the target is shorter than the first probe it is in a duplex with. Next, a series of probes is hybridized to the duplexes, breaking apart duplexes in which the target and probe have unequal lengths through the process of branch migration. After this, the target only remains bound in the duplex if the target and probe are of equal lengths. The length of the polynucleotide target can be determined.

Aperio Technologies of Vista, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,502,519, "Systems and methods for image pattern recognition." The patent claims systems and methods for image-pattern recognition that include digital-image capture and encoding using vector quantization of the image. According to the patent, a vocabulary of vectors is built by segmenting images into kernels and creating vectors corresponding to each kernel. Images are encoded by creating a vector index file having indices that point to the vectors stored in the vocabulary. The vector index file can be used to reconstruct an image by looking up vectors stored in the vocabulary. Pattern recognition of candidate regions of images can be accomplished by correlating image vectors to a pre-trained vocabulary of vector sets comprising vectors that correlate with particular image characteristics. According to the patent, the methods are useful in the rapid screening of tissue samples, such as histology sections arranged as tissue microarrays.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.