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IP Roundup: University College Cardiff, Samsung, Luminex, NanoString, Affymetrix, and Others

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University College Cardiff of Cardiff, UK, has received US Patent No. 8,518,641, "DNA damage testing." The patent relates to a method of for detecting DNA damage in a tissue sample. The method includes exposing sample DNA to a tagged DNA-damage binding factor and then shearing the DNA to produce fragments. After separating damaged from undamaged DNA, the two are amplified and differentially labeled. The labeled fragments can be immobilized on a microarray allowing the location and extent of any DNA damage to be determined.


Samsung Electronics of Suwon, South Korea, has received US Patent No. 8,518,642, "Method of analyzing probe nucleic acid, microarray, and kit for the same." The method includes preparing a substrate where a first probe nucleic acid and a second probe nucleic acid are immobilized on distinct regions; hybridizing a target nucleic acid, which is labeled with a detectable signal substance and is complementary to the second probe nucleic acid; determining a hybridized region between the second probe nucleic acid and the target nucleic acid by measuring a signal from the hybridized product and comparing the measured signal with reference signals; and determining that a region of the first probe nucleic acid corresponding to the hybridized region is prepared as designed.


Luminex of Austin, Texas, has received US Patent No. 8,518,671, "Solid support assay systems and methods utilizing non-standard bases." According to the patent, a capture oligonucleotide comprising a molecular recognition sequence is attached to a solid support and hybridized with a target. In some instances, the molecular recognition sequence includes one or more non-standard bases and hybridizes to a complementary tagging sequence of the target oligonucleotide. In other instances, incorporation of a non-standard base is used in the assay.


Luminex has also received US Patent No. 8,519,117, "Materials and methods for detection of nucleic acids." The method involves contacting a sample suspected of containing the target nucleic acid with a polymerase and first and second primers; amplifying the target nucleic acid by PCR using the primers to generate an amplification product having a double-stranded region and a single-stranded region that comprises the non-natural base; contacting the sample with a reporter consisting of a label and a non-natural base that is complementary to the non-natural base of the single-stranded region; annealing a portion of the reporter to the single-stranded region of the amplification product; and correlating a signal of the label with the presence of the target nucleic acid in the sample.


NanoString Technologies of Seattle has received US Patent No. 8,519,115, "Stable nanoreporters." The patent describes stable nanoreporter probes that are capable of binding to and identifying target molecules based on the probes' uniquely detectable signal. Methods for identifying target-specific sequences for inclusion in the probes are also provided, as are methods of making and using such probes. The inventors claim that the probes can be used in diagnostic, prognostic, quality control, and screening applications.


Affymetrix of Santa Clara, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,520,976, "System, method, and product for imaging probe arrays with small feature size." The patent provides a method for resolving features on a probe array. It includes acquiring a micro-shifted images of a region of a probe array; reconstructing an image of the probe array using the micro-shifted images; and deriving intensity values for one or more probe features disposed on the probe array from the reconstructed image.


Microsoft of Redmond, Wash., has received US Patent No. 8,521,441, "Method and computer program product for reducing fluorophore-specific bias." The patent provides a method for fluorophore bias removal in microarray experiments in which the fluorophores used in microarray experiment pairs are reversed. It also provides a method for calculating the individual errors associated with each measurement made in nominally repeated microarray experiments. This error measurement is optionally coupled with rank based methods in order to determine a probability that a cellular constituent is up or down regulated in response to a perturbation.


Intel of Santa Clara, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,512,559, "Device, method, and system for separation and detection of biomolecules and cells." The described method relies on microchannels, magnetic interactions, and magnetic tunnel junctions integrated into a magnetic tunnel junction sensor. According to the patent, the sensor can be integrated into a silicon based device, such a microfluidic device, an integrated circuit, or a microarray to achieve rapid and specific separation and detection of biomolecules and cells.


NuGen Technologies of San Carlos, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,512,956, "Method for clonal amplification." The method allows for the generation and attachment of polynucleotides with defined 3' and 5' ends to solid surfaces. The polynucleotides attached to the solid substrates can be stored or archived as libraries and can subsequently be retrieved for analysis, for example by clonal amplification using a single composite amplification primer comprising a DNA portion and an RNA portion. The methods are applicable to total RNA and total DNA analysis.


Headway Technologies of Milpitas, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,513,029, "Discrete contact MR bio-sensor with magnetic label field alignment." The patent provides sensors for assaying macro-molecules and biological cells in solution. Each sensor is located within a well and magnets located below each well pull labeled particles into the well and up against the inner wall where a field gradient orients them for optimum detection. Any unattached labels that happen to also be in the well are removed through suitably sized holes in the floor.


Given Imaging of Yokneam, Israel, has received US Patent No. 8,515,507, "Device and method for detecting in vivo pathology." The claimed device includes a reacting layer hosting a binding agent, a sensor configured for sensing an optical change occurring on the reacting substrate, and at least one illumination source. According to the patent, in vivo fluids are in constant contact with the reacting substrate so that an in vivo marker indicating pathology may bind to the binding agent attached onto the reacting layer and may be viewed by the sensor.

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.