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Cornell Research Foundation, Salk Institute for Biological Studies Awarded US Patents

The Cornell Research Foundation of Ithaca, NY, has been awarded US Patent 7,288,405, “Devices and methods for pharmacokinetic-based cell culture system.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Michael Shuler, Gregory Baxter, Aaron Sin, Robert Harrison, and Scott Meyers.
According to its abstract, the patent provides devices, in vitro cell cultures, systems, and methods for a microscale cell culture analogous device.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has been awarded US Patent 7,286,973, “Method of screening inhibitors of mevalonate-independent isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Joseph Noel, Marianne Bowman, and Stephane Richard.
The patent provides the structure of the enzyme 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methylerythritol (CDP-ME) synthase, a member of the cytidyltransferase family of enzymes from Escherichia coli, as stated in the abstract. The inventors said that CDP-ME is a critical intermediate in the mevalonate-independent pathway for isoprenoid biosynthesis in a number of prokaryotic organisms, in algae, in the plastids of plants, and in the malaria parasite. Since vertebrates synthesize isoprenoid precursors using a mevalonate pathway, CDP-ME synthase and other enzymes of the mevalonate-independent pathway for isoprenoid production represent attractive targets for the structure-based design of selective antibacterial, herbicidal, and antimalarial drugs.
The present invention provides methods for screening for compounds that inhibit enzymes of the mevalonate-independent pathway and pharmaceutical compositions and antibacterial formulations thereof.
The patent also discusses methods of inhibiting the enzymes of the pathway and bacterial terpenoid synthesis and methods for treating a subject suffering from a bacterial infection.

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.