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Duke, Wyeth, Novartis, and SUNY Among US Patent Winners


Duke University has been awarded US Patent No. 6,770,449, “Methods of assaying receptor activity and constructs useful in such methods.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Lawrence Barak, Marc Caron, Stephen Ferguson, and Jie Zhang.

According to its abstract, the patent describes methods of detecting G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) activity in vivo and in vitro; methods of assaying GPCR activity; and methods of screening for GPCR ligands, GPCR kinase activity, and compounds that interact with components of the GPCR regulatory process.

Wyeth has been awarded US Patent No. 6,770,446, “Cell systems having specific interaction of peptide binding pairs.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Kathleen Young and Jian Cao.

According to its abstract, the patent covers an invention that relates to novel modified host cells which express heterologous fused proteins and methods of screening for test samples having peptide-binding activity.

Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), has been awarded US Patent No. 6,770,434, “Biological assay method.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Igor Shvets, Dmitriy Kashanin, Dermot Kelleher, Vivienne Williams, and Yuri Volkov.

According to its abstract, the patent describes biological assays using various constructions of biochips to mirror in vivo situations. The biochip comprises a microchannel having a liquid outlet port, bubble release port, and a liquid outlet port with an associated bubble release port, the abstract states. A multiplicity of tests can be performed often by coating the bore of the microchannel with various adhesion-mediating proteins or the use of chemoattractants. The assay assembly comprises a syringe pump feeding the biochip. In addition, an inverted microscope, digital camera, and recorder are provided. A sample liquid containing cells in suspension is injected slowly through the biochip and the effect of the assay recorded over a long period, the abstract states.

Novartis AG has been awarded US Patent No. 6,771,376, “Sensor platform, apparatus incorporating the platform, and process using the platform.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: Wolfgang Budach and Dieter Neuschaefer.

According to its abstract, the patent covers a sensor platform for use in sample analysis comprising a substrate of refractive index (n1) and a thin, optically transparent layer of refractive index (n2) on the substrate, where (n2) is greater than (n1). The platform incorporates one or multiple corrugated structures in the form of periodic grooves, which defines one or more sensing areas each for one or more capture elements. The grooves are so profiled, dimensioned and oriented that when coherent light is incident on the platform it is diffracted into individual beams or diffraction order resulting in reduction of the transmitted beam, and an abnormally high reflection of the incident light thereby creates an enhanced evanescent field at the surface of each sensing area, the abstract states. The amplitude of this field at the resonant condition is greater by an order of approximately 100 than the field of prior art platforms so that the luminescence intensity created from samples on the platform is also increased by a factor of 100. The patent also discloses an apparatus incorporating the platform and a method of using the platform, its abstract states.

The Research Foundation of the State University of New York has been awarded US Patent No. 6,768,003, “Nucleic acids that encode transcriptional adaptor proteins.”

Inventors listed on the patent are: William Solomon and Shaji Abraham.

According to the patent’s abstract, the invention relates to isolated nucleic acid molecules encoding proteins, wherein the protein has transcriptional activator activity. Expression vectors and host cells comprising the nucleic acid molecules are also provided, as well as methods for increasing or decreasing the expression of the transcriptional activator protein in host cells, the abstract states. The invention further provides methods of screening a substance for its ability to modify transcriptional activator protein function, and a method for isolating other transcriptional activator protein molecules, the abstract states.

The Scan

Self-Reported Hearing Loss in Older Adults Begins Very Early in Life, Study Says

A JAMA Otolaryngology — Head & Neck Surgery study says polygenic risk scores associated with hearing loss in older adults is also associated with hearing decline in younger groups.

Genome-Wide Analysis Sheds Light on Genetics of ADHD

A genome-wide association study meta-analysis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder appearing in Nature Genetics links 76 genes to risk of having the disorder.

MicroRNA Cotargeting Linked to Lupus

A mouse-based study appearing in BMC Biology implicates two microRNAs with overlapping target sites in lupus.

Enzyme Involved in Lipid Metabolism Linked to Mutational Signatures

In Nature Genetics, a Wellcome Sanger Institute-led team found that APOBEC1 may contribute to the development of the SBS2 and SBS13 mutational signatures in the small intestine.