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Patent Watch: Mar 13, 2009


Stanford University has been awarded US Patent 7,501,301, "Low-cost fabrication of microelectrode arrays for cell-based biosensors and drug discovery methods."

The inventors listed on the patent are Gregory Kovacs and Laurent Giovangrandi.

According to the abstract, the patent claims a method for making a plurality of low-cost microelectrode arrays on one substrate, using certain unmodified printed circuit board fabrication processes and selected materials. Some of the MEA devices are composed of a thin polymer substrate containing patterned conductive traces. Coverlays on both sides of the substrate insulate the conductive traces and define the electrodes. Preferably, flexible PCB technology simultaneously defines the microelectrode arrays. In other MEA devices, the sensor is an integrated temperature sensor/heater in which the device records extracellular electrical signals from electrically active cell cultures. The present invention enables economical and efficient mass production of MEA devices, making them particularly suitable for disposable applications such as drug discovery, biosensors, and then like.

Maine Medical Center Research Institute has been awarded US Patent 7,501,281, "Compositions, methods, and kits related to thrombin, Notch signaling and stamatogenesis and growth of stem cells."

The inventors listed on the patent are Vihren Kolev, Joseph Verdi, and Thomas Maciag.

The patent describes methods based on the interactions of thrombin as a biological regulator, as stated in its abstract. Specifically, the patent relates to the interactions of thrombin with regard to Notch signaling, Jagged1, PAR1, and the cellular effects mediated by these interactions. Thrombin cleaves Jagged1 to produce non-membrane soluble Jagged1. The sJ1 protein can affect Notch signaling and, among other things, mediate the release of FGF-1 and/or IL-1α from a cell. The patent further relates to the role(s) of thrombin and signaling via Notch proteins, and the effect on biological processes including thrombosis, angiogenesis, and/or differentiation. In addition the patent relates to discovery that thrombin, sJ1, and TRAP mediate, among other things, the rapid non-classical release of FGF-1 and its associated proteins (e.g., p40 Syn1 and S100A13), and that they effect the growth and proliferation of a stem cell without the loss of its differentiation potential. Thus, the patent relates to methods of clonally expanding a pluripotent stem cell while preserving the differentiation potential of the cell, a process termed "stamatogenesis."

PerkinElmer Cellular Technologies Germany has been awarded US Patent 7,501,233, "Method for measuring the vitality of cells."

The inventors listed on the patent are Gabriele Gradl, Thomas Schnelle, Torsten Muller, and Christoph Reichle.

As stated in the abstract, the patent describes a method for non-destructively measuring of the vitality of biological cells, especially for determining apoptosis, in which the at least one cell is exposed to high-frequency alternating, especially rotating, electric fields and/or impedance test fields; and at least one rotation measurement, one dielectrophoresis measurement, and/or one impedance measurement is performed with the cell for at least one frequency range or individual frequencies, from which at least one measurement parameter is determined that is characteristic of the vitality state of the cell.

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.