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Patent Watch: Jan 11, 2009


Geron has been awarded US Patent 7,473,555, “Protocols for making hepatocytes from embryonic stem cells.”

The inventors listed on the patent are Ramkumar Mandalam, Saadia Faouzi, Isabelle Nadeau, Kristina Pfendler-Bonham, Namitha Rao, Melissa Carpenter, Lakshmi Rambhatla, and Choy-Pik Chiu.

This patent claims a newly developed strategy and options for differentiating pluripotent stem cells into cells of the hepatocyte lineage, according to its abstract. In many of the protocols, the cells are first differentiated into early germ layer cells, then into hepatocyte precursors, and then into mature cells. The cells obtained have morphological features and phenotypic markers characteristic of human adult hepatocytes. They also show evidence of cytochrome p450 enzyme activity, validating their utility for commercial applications such as drug screening, or use in the manufacture of therapeutics.

The Scan

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.

Study Looks at Parent Uncertainties After Children's Severe Combined Immunodeficiency Diagnoses

A qualitative study in EJHG looks at personal, practical, scientific, and existential uncertainties in parents as their children go through SCID diagnoses, treatment, and post-treatment stages.

Antimicrobial Resistance Study Highlights Key Protein Domains

By screening diverse versions of an outer membrane porin protein in Vibrio cholerae, researchers in PLOS Genetics flagged protein domain regions influencing antimicrobial resistance.

Latent HIV Found in White Blood Cells of Individuals on Long-Term Treatments

Researchers in Nature Microbiology find HIV genetic material in monocyte white blood cells and in macrophages that differentiated from them in individuals on HIV-suppressive treatment.