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IP Update: University of California, Fluidigm, Prometheus Laboratories, Blood Cell Storage

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The University of California of Oakland has received US Patent No. 8,162,555, "Printing pins having selective wettability and method of making same." Printing pins are described that have an exterior surface and an interior surface that defines a lumen or capillary tract. The pins are treated to render the exterior and interior surfaces hydrophilic. The lumen or capillary tract is filled with a blocking material. The exterior surface of the pin is coated with a hydrophobic material. The blocking material is then removed. The method produces a pin with selective wetting properties. According to the patent, these modified pins reduce solution or reagents use because no excess liquid is picked up on the exterior surface during loading. As a result, no pre-printing operation is needed to remove this excess liquid and the pins produce shorter printing times.


Fluidigm of South San Francisco, Calif., has received US Patent No. 8,163,492, "Microfluidic device and methods of using same." A variety of elastomeric-based microfluidic devices are described that contain arrays of reaction sites to support high-throughput analyses. Some devices also include reaction sites located at the end of blind channels at which reagents have been previously deposited during manufacture. According to the patent, the reagents become suspended once sample is introduced into the reaction site. The devices can be used for nucleic acid amplification reactions, genotyping, and gene expression analyses.


Prometheus Laboratories of San Diego has received US Patent No. 8,163,499, "Drug selection for breast cancer therapy using antibody-based arrays." The patent provides a method for selecting a suitable anticancer drug for the treatment of a breast tumor. This includes isolating cells of a breast tumor after administration of an anticancer drug, or prior to incubation with an anticancer drug; lysing the isolated cells to produce a cellular extract; detecting an activation state of one or more analytes in the cellular extract using an assay consisting of capture antibodies specific for the analytes that are restrained on a solid support; and determining whether the anticancer drug is suitable or unsuitable for the treatment of the breast tumor by comparing the activation state detected for the analytes with a reference activation profile generated in the absence of the anticancer drug.


Blood Cell Storage of Seattle has received US Patent No. 8,163,535, "Devices and processes for nucleic acid extraction." The claimed device consists of a port, a second port, and a binding chamber intermediate and in fluid communication with the first port and the second port. According to the patent, this binding chamber consists of an unmodified flat glass surface effective for binding a heterogeneous population of nucleic acids, and the first port, second port, and binding chamber define a continuous fluid pathway that is free of nucleic acid-specific binding sites.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.