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CSHL, UMass Med, and Evotec Among Recent US Patent Winners


Several organizations have recently received US Patents related to cell-based assays:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has been awarded US Patent No. 6,960,470, "Diagnostic methods for drug screening for Alzheimer's disease."

Inventors listed on the patent are Roberto Malinow, Shahid Zaman, Sangram Sisodia, David Borchelt, and Michael Lee.

According to its abstract, the patent protects methods of screening candidate drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The method employs tissue slices of mutant mouse hippocampal cells having an extra copy of a mutant form of the presenilin-1 gene, the cells having enhanced potentiation to tetanic stimuli. By subjecting both wild-type and mutant hippocampal cells to tetanic stimuli in the presence of a candidate drug, reduction of the enhanced potentiation of the mutant cells without significant change in the potentiation of the wild-type cells indicates a successful candidate, the abstract states.

The University of Massachusetts Medical Center has been awarded US Patent No. 6,962,790, "Predictive assay for immune response."

Francis Ennis is the lone inventor listed on the patent.

According to its abstract, the patent protects an in vitro method for determining the ability of a vaccine composition which comprises one or more antigens or a nucleic acid molecule which encodes one or more antigens to stimulate a T cell response. In one embodiment, the method comprises the steps of: (1) contacting antigen-presenting cells in culture with a vaccine composition selected from among the group of vaccine compositions, thereby, if one or more of the antigens or nucleic acid molecules can be taken up and processed by the cells, producing one or more processed antigens; (2) contacting the antigen-presenting cells with T cells under conditions sufficient for the T cells to respond to one or more of the processed antigens; (3) determining whether the T cells respond to one or more of the processed antigens; whereby if the T cells respond to one or more of the processed antigens, then the vaccine composition stimulates a T-cell response; and (4) repeating steps (1), (2) and (3) with each vaccine composition in the group, thereby identifying vaccine compositions which stimulate a T cell response; and, if one or more of the vaccine compositions stimulates a T cell response, (5) selecting at least one vaccine composition which stimulates a T cell response for assessment in one or more animals and/or human subjects.

Toyo Boseki Kabushiki Kaisha of Japan has been awarded US Patent No. 6,962,986, "Nucleic acid molecules encoding red and green emitting luciferases."

Inventors listed on the patent are Vadim Viviani and Yoshihiro Ohmiya.

According to its abstract, the patent protects isolated nucleic acid molecules which code for luciferases able to produce the green bioluminescence of Phrixotrhix vivianii and red bioluminescence of Phrixothrix hirtus. The nucleic acid molecules and the luciferases encoded thereby can be used in applications such as diagnostic methods and molecular biology tools.

Evotec has been awarded US Patent No. 6,965,113, "Fluorescence intensity multiple distributions analysis: concurrent determination of diffusion times and molecular brightness."

Inventors listed on the patent are Peet Kask, Stefan Jager, Kaupo Palo, Ulo Mets, and Karsten Gall.

According to its abstract, the patent protects a method for distinguishing samples having fluorescent particles. The method includes (a) monitoring intensity fluctuations of fluorescence emitted by the particles in at least one measurement volume by detecting sequences of photon counts by at least one photon detector; (b) determining, from the sequences of photon counts, intermediate statistical data involving at least two probability functions of the number of photon counts detected in different sets of counting time intervals; and (c) determining from the intermediate statistical data a distribution of particles as a function of at least two arguments, wherein one argument is a specific brightness of the particles, or a measure thereof, and another argument is a diffusion coefficient of the particles, or a measure thereof, the abstract states.

The Scan

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Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.