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IP Update: Fluidigm; Forsythe Dental Infirmary for Children; Corning; Academia Sinica; and More


Fluidigm of South San Francisco, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,157,434, "High efficiency and high precision microfluidic devices and methods." A microfluidic device is described that includes an array of interconnected fluid cells that can be used to meter and mix fluid volumes. According to the patent, a solution can be introduced into a segment of a flow channel in fluidic communication with a reaction chamber, after which a second solution is flowed through the segment so that the first solution is displaced into the reaction chamber, and a volume of the second solution enters the chamber. The chamber can then be isolated and reactions within the chamber can be initiated or detected. The inventors claim that high-throughput methods of genetic analysis can be carried out with greater accuracy than previously available.

Forsyth Dental Infirmary for Children of Cambridge, Mass., has received US Patent No. 8,158,123, "Method of inhibiting an activity of a gene product in a bone cell encoded by a nucleotide sequence comprising SEQ ID NO: 50." The patent claims methods of diagnosing and treating a bone resorption disease or a bone generating disease, as well as methods for identifying a compound that modulates disease development, and for determining the efficacy of a bone resorption disease therapy or a bone generating disease therapy. Oligonucleotide microarrays containing probes for genes involved in osteoclast development are also claimed.

Corning of Corning, NY, has received US Patent No. 8,158,340, "Methods for detecting conformational changes in bioentities." A method for identifying the ability of a binding molecule to inhibit or enhance protein degradation is claimed. It includes immobilizing the protein on each of a separated first surface and second surface of a biosensor that can detect a change in the surface refractive index; binding a binding molecule to the protein immobilized on the first surface of the biosensor but not to the protein immobilized on the second surface of the biosensor; exposing the immobilized protein to degrading agents; and measuring the first surface refractive index of the immobilized protein on the first surface and the second surface refractive index of the immobilized protein on the second surface of the biosensor. According to the inventors, when the second surface refractive index is less than the first surface refractive index, the binding molecule inhibits degradation of the protein, and when the second surface refractive index is greater than the first surface refractive index, the binding molecule enhances degradation of the protein.

Academia Sinica of Taipei, Taiwan, has received US Patent No. 8,158,367, "Cancer diagnosis based on levels of antibodies against Globo H and its fragments." A sample is collected from a human subject suspected of having cancer. It is incubated with antigens Gb5, Globo H, Bb2, Bb3, and Bb4 to allow the binding of these molecules to antibodies in the sample. The amount of Gb5-bound antibodies and the amount of Globo H-bound, Bb2-bound, Bb3-bound, or Bb4-bound antibodies is measured and it is determined whether the subject has cancer based on the ratio of the amount of Globo H-bound, Bb2-bound, Bb3-bound, or Bb4-bound antibodies to the amount of Gb5-bound antibodies as a higher ratio indicates that the subject has cancer. Globo H, Gb5, Bb2, Bb3, and Bb4 can be immobilized on a supporter device to form a glycan array. In one example, the array contains Gb5 and one of Globo H, Bb2, Bb3, and Bb4. In another example, it contains all of these molecules.

George Inana and Margaret McLaren, both of Miami, have received US Patent No. 8,158,600, "Methods and compositions for detecting and treating retinal diseases based on metargidin (ADAM-15)." Multiple genes are provided that are related to age-related macular degeneration or phagocytosis by RPE cells of the eye. Methods for detecting and treating AMD and other retinal degenerative conditions based on these phagocytosis-related or AMD-related genes are also provided, as are animal models useful for testing therapeutic compounds and treatment protocols for AMD, and arrays that include polymorphic variants of the genes. The inventors claim that the arrays are useful for screening nucleic acid samples from subjects to obtain profiles of polymorphic variant sequences in genes associated with AMD.

Columbia University of New York has received US Patent No. 8,158,832, "Photochemical methods and photoactive compounds for modifying surfaces." The provided compounds can form radicals upon exposure to irradiation that can then react with nearby molecules to alter the surface properties of various substrates. These surfaces are resistant to dewetting, and can support immobilized molecules such as carbohydrates and polymers or deposited metals.

Illumina has received US Patent No. 8,158,926, "Confocal imaging methods and apparatus." The inventors claim that the provided methods are useful for obtaining a high-resolution image of a sample at rapid scan rates. A rectangular detector array can be used along with imaging optics positioned to direct a rectangular image of a portion of a sample to the rectangular detector array. A scanning device can be configured to scan the sample in a scan-axis dimension, wherein the vertical dimension for the rectangular detector array and the shorter of the two rectangular dimensions for the image are in the scan-axis dimension, and where the vertical dimension for the rectangular detector array is short enough to achieve confocality in a single axis.

HistoRx of Branford, Conn., has received US Patent No. 8,160,348, "Methods and system for validating sample images for quantitative immunoassays." This method for automatically evaluating the quality of a slide-mounted tissue sample includes receiving a digital image of a magnified portion of the slide-mounted tissue sample. At least one quantitative quality indicator is then determined for at least one of the samples, and the digital image of the magnified portion of the sample. Each of the quantitative quality indicators is subsequently compared to a respective minimum acceptable quality threshold. Failure of one or more of the quantitative quality indicators to meet its respective minimum acceptable quality threshold suggests that the sample is unsuitable for subsequent automated pathological evaluation.

Hitachi of Kanagawa, Japan, has received US Patent No. 8,160,854, "Method of managing and displaying gene expression data." The patent describes software for visualizing and analyzing gene expression array data. The arrays are displayed in the leftmost column of a matrix, and parameters such as times in a time series, treatment methods, types of samples, and others are displayed in the top row. Expression value data corresponding to the respective cells are displayed as small matrices. Treatment methods or types of samples are displayed in the rows and columns of the small matrices. When a cell in a small matrix is clicked, a scatter diagram for corresponding expression value data is displayed.

The Scan

Steps for Quick Review

The US Food and Drug Administration is preparing for the quick review of drugs and vaccines for the Omicron variant, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Moving Away From Using Term 'Race'

A new analysis finds that geneticists are using the term "race" in their papers less than in years past, as Science reports.

Point of the Program

The Guardian writes that some scientists have called the design of a UK newborn sequencing program into question.

Science Papers Present Multi-Omic Analysis of Lung Cells, Regulation of Cardiomyocyte Proliferation

In Science this week: a multi-omic analysis of lung cells focuses on RIT1-regulated pathways, and more.