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LGC, Veridex, Tufts University, Bio-Rad Laboratories

LGC of Middlesex, UK, has received US Patent No. 7,348,141, “Hybridization beacon and method of rapid sequence detection and discrimination.” The patent claims a method for detecting specific DNA sequences and discriminating single nucleotide polymorphisms using fluorescently labeled oligonucleotide probes. The probes are labeled with a reporter molecule preferentially attached to an internal nucleotide residue. The fluorescence emission of oligonucleotide probes varies significantly when in single-stranded and double-stranded states despite the absence of quencher moieties, allowing reliable detection of complementary DNA targets, the patent claims. The melting temperature of the probe/target duplexes permits discrimination of targets that differ by as little as a single nucleotide residue, so that polymorphic targets may be discriminated by fluorescence quantitation. The patent also states that its hybridization probes have been demonstrated to accurately identify homozygous and heterozygous samples using a single, fluorescent oligonucleotide and that the direct investigation of saliva with hybridization probes permits ultra-rapid genotypic analysis within 35-40 minutes.

Veridex of Raritan, NJ, has received US Patent No. 7,348,142, “Cancer diagnostic panel.” The patent claims a method of diagnosing prostate, breast, colon, lung or ovarian cancer. The method works by identifying from a cell from a human patient the differential modulation of each gene relative to the expression of the same genes in a normal population in a gene expression portfolio selected for use with peripheral blood samples. The genes in the portfolio consist of those having Seq. ID. Numbers 32-37, 69, and 98-100 or which express products having such sequences. By comparing such modulation with that of the same genes found in cells associated with human prostate, breast, colon, lung, or ovarian cancers, the patient can be diagnosed as having prostate, breast, colon, lung or ovarian cancer.

Tufts University has received US Patent No. 7,348,181, “Self-encoding sensor with microspheres.” The patent describes a microsphere-based analytic chemistry system in which self-encoding microspheres with distinct characteristic optical response signatures to specific target analytes may be mixed together. The ability to identify the sensor type and location of each sensor in a random dispersion of large numbers of such sensors in a sensor array using an optically interrogatable encoding scheme is retained during this process. An optical fiber bundle sensor is also claimed in which individual microsphere sensors are disposed in microwells at a distal end of the fiber bundle and are optically coupled to discrete fibers or groups of fibers within the bundle. The identities of the individual sensors in the array are self-encoded by exposing the array to a reference analyte while illuminating the array with excitation light energy. A single sensor array may carry thousands of discrete sensing elements whose combined signal provides for substantial improvements in sensor detection limits, response times and signal-to-noise ratios, the patent claims.

Bio-Rad Laboratories has received US Patent No. 7,348,184, “Protein interaction difference mapping.” The patent claims a method for creating a profile of interactions between components of at least one multicomponent biological complex in a sample. The steps of the method include: a) providing an aliquot from the sample, where the aliquot includes the multicomponent biological complex; b) immobilizing the multicomponent biological complex on a solid support through a biospecific affinity molecule, where the affinity molecule is not a nucleic acid, and where the affinity molecule binds a first component of the complex; c) washing the immobilized multicomponent biological complex with a sequence of elution washes; and d) measuring for a second component of the complex in each of the elution washes so that a profile for the complex from the sample includes the measurements from the elution washes.

The Scan

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.

Study Explores Animated Digital Message Approach to Communicate Genetic Test Results to Family Members

In the Journal of Genetic Counseling, the approach showed promise in participants presented with a hypothetical scenario related to a familial hereditary breast and ovarian cancer syndrome diagnosis.

Computational Tool Predicts Mammalian Messenger RNA Degradation Rates

A tool called Saluki, trained with mouse and human messenger RNA data, appears to improve mRNA half-life predictions by taking RNA and genetic features into account, a Genome Biology paper reports.

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.