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IP Roundup: Silverbrook Research, City of Hope, Yale University


Silverbrook Research of Balmain, Australia, has received US Patent No. 8,398,939, "Microfluidic test module with low-volume hybridization chambers for electrochemiluminescent detection of target nucleic acid sequences in a fluid." The described test module has an outer casing configured for hand-held portability; an inlet for receiving the fluid containing the target nucleic acid sequences; and a hybridization chamber mounted in the casing that contains electrochemiluminescent probes for detecting the target nucleic acid sequences. According to the patent, each of the ECL probes has a luminophore for emitting photons when in an excited state and a functional moiety for quenching photon emission from the luminophore by resonant energy transfer. The module also includes electrodes for receiving an electrical pulse to excite the ECL luminophores.

Silverbrook Research has also received US Patent No. 8,398,940, "USB-interfaceable portable test module for electrochemiluminescent detection of targets." The described apparatus includes a detection photosensor for exposure to the photons emitted by the ECL luminophores, control circuitry providing the electrical pulse to the electrodes, and a universal serial bus connection, so that the outer casing is configured as a USB drive for transmitting data regarding detection of the targets in the fluid to an external device. During use, the ECL probes that have detected one of the target nucleic acid sequences reconfigure so that the functional moiety does not quench the photon emission from the ECL luminophore when excited by the electrodes, according to the patent.

City of Hope of Duarte, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,399,193, "DNA methylation biomarkers for lung cancer." The patent provides a method of diagnosing lung cancer by obtaining a lung tissue test sample from a subject; measuring a methylation level of one or a combination of DNA biomarkers selected from a supplied group in the lung tissue test sample; comparing the methylation level of the biomarkers with the methylation level of corresponding biomarkers in a normal lung tissue sample or lung standard sample; and predicting that an increase in the methylation level of the lung tissue test sample in relation to that of the normal lung tissue sample or lung standard sample indicates that the subject is likely to have lung cancer. According to the patent, the methylation level may be measured by a microarray-based methylated-CpG island recovery assay.

Yale University of New Haven, Conn., has received US Patent No. 8,399,383, "Protein chips for high throughput screening of protein activity." The patent relates to protein chips useful for the large-scale study of protein function, where the chip contains densely packed reaction wells. The patent also claims methods of using protein chips to assay simultaneously the presence, amount, and function of proteins present in a protein sample or on one protein chip, or to assay the presence, relative specificity, and binding affinity of each probe in a mixture of probes for each of the proteins on the chip. Polymers useful as protein chip substrates and methods of making protein chips are also described.