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PATENT WATCH: Jun 22, 2001


PamGene of Den Bosch, Netherlands said it has received a US patent, number 6,225,131, describing PamGene’s flow-through microarray testing technology. In this technology, samples flow through microarrays made of a porous aluminum oxide.

Orchid Biosciences has received a US patent, number 6,245,507, entitled “In-line complete hyperspectral fluorescent imaging of nucleic acid molecules.” The patent describes an imaging apparatus for dye-based detection of a nucleic acid on a solid surface.

In the invention, a transmission beam travels through an expansion lens, and is then focused into a beam. The beam interacts with a fluorescent signal from a nucleotide sequence, which emits light. This light is collected by a collection lens and projected by an imaging spectro-meter. A detector interprets this data.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has received a US patent, number 6,245,517, covering a method for analyzing cDNA expression ratios on a microarray.

The method, invented by Yidong Chen and Michael Bittner of the National Human Genome Research Institute and Edward Dougherty of Texas A&M University, assumes that expression levels are normally distributed, different expression levels are independent, and the gene set has a constant coefficient of variation. The method then derives the probability distribution for the gene expression ratios, finds the maximum likelihood estimator for it, and calibrates the signal.

“With this approach, a computer-implemented method can process a single image and identify outliers,” the patent states. The method can determine whether there is a significant difference in expression levels between different samples.

Sandeep Gulati of Caltech has received a US patent, number 6,245,511, that describes a microarray-based method for determining the effectiveness of an anti-HIV therapy. The method involves hybridizing a sample of the patient’s DNA to microarrays at different times during the treatment regimen, then generating a curve using the hybridization data from the microarray. This is mapped to a viral diffusion curve associated with the therapy that the patient is undergoing, to see how much these curves converge. The degree to which these curves converge can indicate the degree of treatment effectiveness.


The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.