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Bayer, General Hospital Corp, CSIRO, and UCSF Among Recent US Patent Winners

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University College Cork-National University of Ireland has been awarded US Patent No. 7,138,270, “Assay device and method for chemical or biological screening.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Dmitri Papkovsky, John Alderman, and Rosemary O’Connor.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects an assay device comprising a base and glass plate lid. The base has an array of shallow microwells, each having a flat rim, and all rims being co-planar. When the lid is placed on the base, a thin capillary gap is formed on each rim, acting as a liquid seal for a microwell chamber. The liquid is excess sample liquid and further excess is accommodated in overspill cavities between the microwells. Because of the liquid seal and shallow configuration, the benefits of microfluidic devices are achieved together with the handling convenience and use of conventional detection equipment of conventional microplate devices, the abstract states.
 

 
Bayer Healthcare of Leuverkusen, Germany, has been awarded US Patent No. 7,138,280, “Masking of the background fluorescence and luminescence in the optical analysis of biomedical assays.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Thomas Krahn, Wolfgang Paffhausen, Andreas Schade, Martin Bechem, and Delf Schmidt.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects a method in which the sensitivity of analytical detection during the quantitative optical analysis of biological cells labeled with a fluorescent dye is considerably improved by adding a masking dye, which absorbs the excitation light for the fluorescent dye and/or its emission light, to the solution surrounding the biological cells. In addition, sensitivity can be improved if a separating layer permeable to the solution and absorbing and/or reflecting the excitation light or the emission light is applied to a layer of the biological cells at the bottom of a reaction vessel. This process can also be used for improving the sensitivity in the quantitative optical analysis of a luminescent biological cell layer. Analogously, these process principles can also be used in receptor studies for masking the interfering background radiation in the quantitative optical analysis of fluorescently or luminescently labeled reaction components, the abstract states.
 

 
The General Hospital Corporation of Boston, Mass., has been awarded US Patent No. 7,138,380, “Transgenic animals and cell lines for screening drugs effective for the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Suzanne De La Monte and Jack Wands.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects transgenic animals and transfected cell lines expressing a protein associated with Alzheimer's disease, neuroectodermal tumors, malignant astrocytomas, and glioblastomas. The patent also describes the use of such animals and cell lines to screen potential drug candidates for treating or preventing the aforementioned diseases. The invention also relates to new antisense oligonucleotides, ribozymes, triplex-forming DNA, and external guide sequences that can be used to treat or prevent the aforementioned diseases.
 

 
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Campbell, Australia, has been awarded US Patent No. 7,138,565, “Methods and means for obtaining modified phenotypes.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Peter Waterhouse and Ming-Bo Wang.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects methods and means for reducing the phenotypic expression of a nucleic acid of interest in eukaryotic cells, particularly in plant cells, by providing aberrant, preferably unpolyadenylated, target-specific RNA to the nucleus of the host cell. Preferably, the unpolyadenylated target-specific RNA is provided by transcription of a chimeric gene comprising a promoter, a DNA region encoding the target-specific RNA, a self-splicing ribozyme, and a DNA region involved in 3' end formation and polyadenylation, the abstract states.
 

 
The University of California, San Francisco has been awarded US Patent No. 7,139,415, “Robotic microscopy systems.”
 
Steven Finkbeiner is the sole inventor listed on the patent.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects a robotic microscope system and methods that allow high throughput analysis of biological materials, particularly living cells, and allows precise return to and re-imaging of the same field (e.g., the same cell) that has been imaged earlier. This capability enables experiments and the testing of hypotheses that deal with causality over time intervals which are not possible with conventional microscopy methods, the abstract states.

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