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Geron, Alcon, and the University of Cincinnati Awarded US Patents

Geron has been awarded US Patent 7,297,539, “Medium for growing human embryonic stem cells.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Ramkumar Mandalam and Chunhui Xu.
This invention provides an improved system for culturing human pluripotent stem cells, according to the patent abstract. Traditionally, pluripotent stem cells are cultured on a layer of feeder cells, such as mouse embryonic fibroblasts, to prevent them from differentiating. In the system described in the patent, the role of feeder cells is replaced by components added to the culture environment that support rapid proliferation without differentiation. As stated in the abstract, effective features are a suitable support structure for the cells and an effective medium that can be added fresh to the culture without being preconditioned by another cell type. Culturing human embryonic stem cells in fresh medium according to this invention causes the cells to expand rapidly, while retaining the ability to differentiate into cells representing all three embryonic germ layers. This new culture system allows for bulk proliferation of pPS cells for commercial production of important products for use in drug screening and human therapy.

Alcon has been awarded US patent 7,297,505, “Use of MDCK cell line to predict corneal penetration of drugs.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Andrew Rusinko, Mark Hellberg, Jesse May, and Geoffrey Owen.
The patent abstract describes a new method of evaluating the ability of drug molecules to penetrate the cornea. The permeation rate of the drug molecules in Madin-Darby Canine Kidney epithelial cells is used to predict the ability of the molecules to penetrate the cornea. The method is useful for in vitro screening of potential new ophthalmic drugs, as well as in the design of new drug molecules for topical ocular administration, according to the patent abstract.

The University of Cincinnati has been awarded US Patent 7,297,312, “Simultaneous multianalyte electrochemical assay based on spatial resolution.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Ying Ding, Brian Halsall, and William Heineman.
A simultaneous multianalyte electrochemical assay includes a cell which has a surface and the surface includes analyte binding sites i.e., antibodies or antigens on a solid phase at distinct separate locations, the patent abstract states. Separate working electrodes are located within proximity to these separate locations. Enzyme labeled antibodies or antigens, depending on the assay format, are added and the enzyme reaction product is measured by simultaneous amperometric measurement with the independent electrode in each area. The electrodes are spatially separated from adjacent analytes so that a measurement can be taken before cross-interference due to diffusion of product from adjacent analyte areas.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.