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Patent Watch: Jan 11, 2009

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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

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.