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Michigan Tech, Gladstone Institute, University of California, Elan Pharmaceuticals Win Cell-Based Assay-Related Patents

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The Board of Control of Michigan Technological University of Houghton, Mich., has been awarded US Patent No. 7,183,092, “Modified luciferase.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Eileen H. Kim Choi, David Shonnard, and Irina Rybina.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects modified luciferase proteins that are more resistant to inhibition by test chemicals than wild type luciferase. The modified luciferases also contain greater thermostability than wild type luciferase, the abstract states.
 

 
The J. David Gladstone Institutes of San Francisco, Calif., have been awarded US Patent No. 7,186,516, “Methods of detecting specific cell lysis.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Douglas Nixon, Adrian McDermott, Scott Furlan, Martin Bigos, Megan Sheehy, and Paul Klenerman.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects methods of detecting specific lysis of a cell by a lytic agent. The methods involve contacting a labeled target cell with a lytic agent and detecting fluorescence in the target cell. The target cells are labeled with two fluorescent labels: one that labels the plasma membrane, and another that labels the cytosol. Release of the cytosolic label from the target cell indicates that the target cell has been lysed.
 

 
The Regents of the University of California of Oakland, Calif., have been awarded US Patent No. 7,186,521, “Determining the effect of a substance on sequestration, uptake, and accumulation of amyloid in brain cells.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Gary Lynch, Xiaoning Bi, and Christine Gall.
 
According to its abstract, the patent covers an invention in which brain cells, such as normal brain cells, apolipoprotein E-deficient brain cells, or apoE4-containing brain cells, are treated with a compound that can modulate integrins or integrin receptors to produce increased sequestration, accumulation of, or uptake of A-beta, as well as changes in cathepsin D content, lysosomal dysfunction, or microglia activation in the brain cells. The invention also protects methods for producing such cells and methods for using the cells for screening an agent or substance.
 

 
Elan Pharmaceuticals of South San Francisco, Calif., has been awarded US Patent No. 7,186,881, “Testing compounds for effects on synaptophysin in transgenic mice expressing an Alzheimer's disease FAD DNA sequence.”
 
Inventors listed on the patent are Kate Dora Games, Dale Schenk, Lisa McConlogue, Peter Seubert, and Russell Rydel.
 
According to its abstract, the patent protects the construction of transgenic animal models of human Alzheimer's disease, and methods of using the models to screen potential Alzheimer’s disease therapeutics. The transgenic animals, or animal cells, are used to screen for compounds altering the pathological course of Alzheimer's disease as measured by their effect on the amount of APP, beta-amyloid peptide, and other Alzheimer's disease markers.
 

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