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National Taiwan University, Epoch Biosciences, Samsung Electronics, Affymetrix


National Taiwan University has received US Patent No. 6,661,520, “Sensor system of surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and measuring method thereof.” The patent describes an SPR-based sensor system that includes an optical device to generate two light beams in sequence and a sensor device for generating two plasmon waves sequentially in response to changes in the optical characteristics of the light beams with respect to the substance. The waves generate resonance, resulting in a first and second reflective signal. The patent also describes a measuring device to measure the spectra of both reflective signals and obtain a value that is substituted into a formula in order to create a reference value for analysis.

Epoch Biosciences has received US Patent No. 6,660,845, “Non-aggregating, non-quenching oligomers comprising nucleotide analogues; methods of synthesis and use thereof.” The patent describes “DNA, RNA, PNA, and chimeric oligomers” with one or more purine bases substituted by a pyrazolo[5,4-d]pyrimidine or by a 7-deazapurine purine analogue, in order to improve hybridization analysis. The patent also provides methods of synthesis and novel synthetic precursors.

Samsung Electronics Co. has received US Patent No. 6,660,479, “Process for preparing peptide nucleic acid probe using polymeric photoacid generator.” The patent discloses a process for preparation of oligopeptide nucl- eic acid probe arrays, in which the oligopeptides are immobilized on a solid matrix using a polymeric photoacid generator. The arrays are prepared by 1) derivitizing the surface of a solid matrix with aminoalkyloxysilane in alcohol, and then attaching a linker with acid-labile protecting group; 2) coating the matrix with polymeric photoacid generator; 3) exposing the matrix to light to generate acid that eliminates the acid-labile protecting group; 4) washing the matrix with alkaline solution or organic solvent, then removing residual polymeric photoacid generator; and 5) attaching to the solid matrix a monomeric peptide nucleic acid with an acid-labile protecting group, then repeating steps two to five. The patent also says that neutral peptide nucleic acid probes, which are a substitute for negatively-charged oligonucleotide probes, can be prepared by employing polymeric photoacid generator.

Affymetrix has received US Patent No. 6, 660,234, “Apparatus for polymer synthesis.” The patent covers a method for preparation of a substrate that has a plurality of sequences, in which photoremovable groups are attached to the surface, and regions of the substrate are exposed to light to activate them. A monomer is also provided to bind to the substrate. The process is re-peated using different monomers until the sequences of a specific length are assembled. The patent also discloses apparatus and methods for detection.

The Scan

Shape of Them All

According to BBC News, researchers have developed a protein structure database that includes much of the human proteome.

For Flu and More

The Wall Street Journal reports that several vaccine developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines for influenza.

To Boost Women

China's Ministry of Science and Technology aims to boost the number of female researchers through a new policy, reports the South China Morning Post.

Science Papers Describe Approach to Predict Chemotherapeutic Response, Role of Transcriptional Noise

In Science this week: neural network to predict chemotherapeutic response in cancer patients, and more.