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IP Roundup: Caltech, U of California, Rheonix, Roche NimbleGen, Silicon Biosystems, and More

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The California Institute of Technology of Pasadena, Calif., and the University of California of Oakland have received US Patent No. 8,382,896, "High throughput screening of crystallization materials." The screening is accomplished by introducing a solution of target material into the chambers of a microfabricated fluidic device. The device is then manipulated to vary the solution condition in the chambers, and to provide a large number of crystallization environments. Control over changed solution conditions may result from a variety of techniques, according to the patent, including metering volumes of crystallizing agent into the chamber by volume exclusion, by entrapment of volumes of crystallizing agent determined by the dimensions of the microfabricated structure, or by cross-channel injection of sample and crystallizing agent into an array of junctions defined by intersecting orthogonal flow channels.


Nanyang Technological University of Singapore has received US Patent No. 8,383,025, "Method of manufacturing micro patterned device and device obtained by the method." The method consists of applying a light curable epoxy resin to a mold to obtain a curable resin-filled mold. In a further step, a polymeric film or an epoxy resin-coated glass is applied over the curable resin-filled mold. The mold is then irradiated to cure the resin. According to the inventors, arrays of biomolecules may be patterned on the resulting resin-coated glass.


Rheonix of Ithaca, NY, has received US Patent No. 8,383,039, "Self-contained biological assay apparatus, methods, and applications." The apparatus includes a housing; a dispensing platform including a controllably movable reagent dispensing system; a reagent supply component; a pneumatic manifold coupled to a fluidic transport layer and reservoirs; a pneumatic supply system; and a control system coupled to the dispensing platform and the pneumatic supply system.


University of Utah Research Foundation of Salt Lake City has received US Patent No. 8,383,059, "Microfluidic interface for highly parallel addressing of sensing arrays." The claimed spotting device uses wells, microfluidic conduits, and orifices to deposit proteins, other biomolecules, or chemicals on a spot on a separate surface. Each orifice is connected to two wells via microconduits. When the spotter contacts a surface, a seal is formed between the orifices and the surface. The same or different substances may be flowed across each orifice and any number of orifices may be incorporated into a spotter. According to the inventors, the spotter is useful for depositing proteins in high concentrations on a surface, since the spotter may be placed on a surface for an extended period of time.


Silverbrook Research of Balmain, Australia, has received US Patent No. 8,383,064, "Genetic test module with low oligonucleotide probe mass and reagent volumes." According to the inventors, the module can be used for performing a genetic diagnostic assay. It has an outer casing with a receptacle for receiving a biological sample containing target nucleic acid sequences, an array of chambers containing probes for hybridization with the target nucleic acid sequences to form probe-target hybrids, a flow-path extending from the inlet to the probes, and a reagent reservoir containing a reagent for addition to the sample in the flow path upstream of the probes.


Silverbrook Research has also received US Patent No. 8,383,065, "Test module with integral photosensor for electrochemiluminescent detection of hybridization." The module has an outer casing with a receptacle for receiving the fluid containing the target nucleic acid sequences; electrochemiluminescent probes with ECL luminophores for emitting photons when in an excited state and a functional moiety for quenching photon emission from the ECL luminophore by resonant energy transfer; electrodes for receiving an electrical pulse to excite the ECL luminophores; and a detection photosensor for exposure to the photons emitted by the ECL luminophores.


Roche NimbleGen of Madison, Wis., has received US Patent No. 8,383,338, "Methods and systems for uniform enrichment of genomic regions." The methods include providing a sample of nucleic acid molecules consisting of target nucleic acid sequences; hybridizing the sample to nucleic acid probes complementary to the target nucleic acid sequences under hybridization conditions; and separating non-hybridized nucleic acid sequences from hybridized target nucleic acid sequences to uniformly enrich a population of nucleic acid molecules in a sample.


Silicon Biosystems of Bologna, Italy, has received US Patent No. 8,383,341, "Method for non-invasive prenatal diagnosis." The described method includes obtaining a sample of an organic fluid having a high probability of containing fetal cells from a pregnant woman; enriching the sample in a population of cells consisting of fetal nucleated cells; isolating at least a cell from the population in a microfluidic device designed specifically for that purpose; and performing a genetic analysis on the cell in order to make a diagnosis.


The University of North Carolina at Greensboro has received US Patent No. 8,383,342, "Compositions, products, methods and systems to monitor water and other ecosystems." The patent describes an oligonucleotide array, where the oligos contain sequences for various operational taxonomic units, as well as sequences for determining the presence or absence of mercury. According to the patent, the sequences immobilized on the array may be from known and unknown organisms. The inventors claim the device can be used to monitor ecosystems for parameters of interest, such as the presence or absence of mercury.


Academia Sinica of Taipei, Taiwan, has received US Patent No. 8,383,554, "Quantitative microarray of intact glycolipid CD1d interaction and correlation with cell-based cytokine production." The array described consists of patterned glycolipid ligands and can be used to analyze their binding with the protein CD1d. CD1d-presented lipid antigens activate a special class of T cells, known as natural killer T cells that, when activated, produce Th1 and Th2 cytokines, typically represented by interferon-gamma and IL-4 production, according to the inventors.

The Scan

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.

Study Reveals Potential Sex-Specific Role for Noncoding RNA in Depression

A long, noncoding RNA called FEDORA appears to be a sex-specific regulator of major depressive disorder, affecting more women, researchers report in Science Advances.

New mRNA Vaccines Offer Hope for Fighting Malaria

A George Washington University-led team has developed mRNA vaccines for malaria that appear to provide protection in mice, as they report in NPJ Vaccines.

Unique Germline Variants Found Among Black Prostate Cancer Patients

Through an exome sequencing study appearing in JCO Precision Oncology, researchers have found unique pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants within a cohort of Black prostate cancer patients.