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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Eisai, Wavesence, University of Edinburgh, DiscoveRx, CyBio Awarded US Patents

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been awarded US Patent 7,372,985, “Systems and methods for volumetric tissue scanning microscopy.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Peter So, Bevin Engelward, Timothy Ragan, Karsten Bahlmann, Ki Hean Kim, Lily Hsu, and Hayden Huang.
According to its abstract, the patent describes a multistep method for imaging tissue, for example, that involves mounting the tissue on a computer-controlled stage of a microscope, determining volumetric imaging parameters, directing at least two photons into a region of interest, scanning the region of interest across a portion of the tissue, and imaging multiple layers of the tissue in the region of interest in multiple volumes of the tissue. The method then involves sectioning the portion of the tissue and imaging more layers of the tissue in the region of interest, detecting a fluorescence image of the tissue, and processing the three-dimensional data that is collected to create a three-dimensional image of the region of interest.

Eisai has been awarded US Patent 7,371,843, “Cultured Xenopus laevis cell lines expressing mutant Adenomatous polyposis coli gene.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Yuko Kiyosue, Hiroyuki Sasaki, and Shoichiro Tsukita.
The patent describes cell lines stably expressing GFP-fused full-length and mutant APCs that were obtained from cultured Xenopus laevis renal epithelial A6 cells using protein visualization techniques. The use of these cells showed that mutant APCs, whose C-terminal region is absent, induced the piling up of cells. Furthermore, piled up cells from mutant APC-expressing cell lines were proven to maintain the intercellular adhesive structure, representing a phenomenon similar to polyp formation in individual organisms, in this case, mice.

Wavesence has been awarded US Patent 7,371,584, “Multi-functional and configurable assay.”
The inventor listed on the patent is Christopher Feistel.
The patent provides a chromatographic medium that is designed to be exposed to test solution having activated magnetic particles, such that the solution flows bilaterally across the medium, the abstract states. A magnetic field, generated by a magnet or electromagnet, is selectively applied to the medium which causes the charged particles to become substantially bound at a site on the medium specified by the position of the magnet. The assay is multi-configurable and can be modified to isolate target cells and grow cell cultures.

The University of Edinburgh has been awarded US Patent 7,371,573, “Propagation and/or derivation of embryonic stem cells.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Austin Smith and Thomas Burdon.
According to its abstract, the patent discusses embryonic stem cells that are cultured in the presence of a compound that selectively inhibits propagation or survival of cells other than ES cells. The ES cells have not been genetically altered. Instead, the compound inhibits a signaling pathway which is essential for the propagation of differentiated cells, but is not essential for propagation of ES cells, so that ES cells are selectively maintained in the culture.

DiscoveRx has been awarded US Patent 7,371,534, “Sensitive intracellular calcium assay.”
The inventors listed on the abstract are Linda Kauffman, Rajendra Singh, and Edwin Ullman.
Its abstract said that the patent provides a sensitive intracellular calcium assay consisting of a reagent comprised of a dye precursor capable of entering cells and being hydrolyzed to a dye, which then complexes with calcium in the cells and provides a luminescent signal; an antibody specific for the dye and conjugated with a quencher; and a cellular anion exchange enzyme inhibitor. In performing the assay, the reagent is combined with cells expressing a receptor responsive to a ligand resulting in a change in cytosolic calcium. After incubation for the dye precursor to permeate the cells, the intracellular calcium level may be determined by exciting the dye precursor and determining the peak fluorescence over a period of time.

CyBio has been awarded US Patent 7,371,347, “Device for dispensing and observing the luminescence of individual specimens in multi-specimen arrangements.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Juergen Wulf, Werner Pongratz, Andreas Fina, Michael Heil, and Michael Jurtz.
The patent describes a device for dispensing and observing the luminescence of individual specimens in microwell plates, particularly for the examination of biological, chemical, or cytobiological assays with high specimen throughput, as stated in the abstract. The purpose of the invention is to find a novel possibility for dispensing many specimens in microplates, and for observing the luminescence of individual specimens, particularly for examining biological assays with high specimen throughput. This goal is met, according to the abstract, because the dispensing unit has at least one linear dispensing comb containing an even number of dispensing nozzles representing an integral divisor of the number of wells along one dimension of the microplate. The dispensing combs are arranged so as to be displaceable orthogonal to their longitudinal dimension, and every dispensing comb is connected to a controllable pump for metering the amount of liquid to be dispensed without immersion in the wells of the microplate. The CCD camera is oriented by a fast optical system to a large-area rectangular region of the underside of the microplate across from the dispensing unit, the surface being adapted to the dimension of the dispensing comb and to the area of the microplate covered by the dispensing comb, so that the elapsed time for the luminescence is measurable simultaneously while dispensing continues.

The Scan

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Right Whales' Decline

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Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.