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SUNY, UCal, Pherin Pharma, U of Rochester Among Recent US Patent Recipients

The State University of New York has been awarded US Patent No. 7,087,374, “Screen for sodium channel modulators.”
Sho-Ya Wang is the sole inventor listed on the patent.
According to its abstract, the patent protects a method or screen for assessing the potential of a compound to treat a pathological condition, such as arrhythmia, which is manifested by an increase in late sodium current in a heart. The method employs a mutant sodium channel protein having an amino acid sequence in which one or more amino acids of the ten occurring at the carboxy end of the S6 segments of D1, D2, D3, or D4 domains of mammalian Nav1 differs from the amino acid in wild-type Nav1 by substitution with tryptophan, phenylalanine, tyrosine, or cysteine. The patent also describes cells transfected with a nucleic acid that encodes a mutant mammalian Nav1 protein, as well as isolated nucleic acid comprising a nucleotide sequence that codes for a mutant mammalian Nav1 protein.

The University of California has been awarded US Patent No. 7,087,416, “Detection of transmembrane potentials by optical methods.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Roger Tsien and Jesus Gonzalez.
According to its abstract, the patent protects methods and compositions for detecting changes in membrane potential in membranes of biological systems. In one aspect, the method comprises: a) providing a living cell with a first reagent comprising a charged hydrophobic molecule, which is typically a fluorescence resonance energy transfer acceptor or donor, or is a quencher and is capable of redistributing within the membrane of a biological membrane in response to changes in the potential across the membrane; b) providing the cell with a second reagent that can label the first face or the second face of a biological membrane within the cell; and c) detecting light emission from the first reagent or the second reagent. One aspect of this method involves monitoring membrane potential changes in subcellular organelle membranes in living cells. Another aspect of the invention is the use of certain embodiments of the method to screen test chemicals for their activity to modulate the activity of a target ion channel. Yet another aspect of the invention is a transgenic organism comprising a first reagent that comprises a charged hydrophobic fluorescent molecule, and a second reagent comprising a bioluminescent or naturally fluorescent protein, the abstract states.

Pherin Pharmaceuticals has been awarded US Patent No. 7,087,430, “Human VNO cDNA libraries.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Ronald Herman and David Berliner.
According to its abstract, the patent protects DNA libraries, in particular a human VNO cDNA library. Isolated pheromone receptor cDNA is transfected into competent cells. The transfected cell lines provide a scaleable source of homogeneous material to develop efficient, automated high-throughput screening assays for new vomeropherins, and thereby reduce the ongoing need for human volunteers in the preclinical phases of drug discovery. Identification and characterization of the human VNO receptors will facilitate the development and commercialization of vomeropherins with improved specificity, and enhanced therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of the target diseases, the abstract states.

The University of Rochester has been awarded US Patent No. 7,087,431, “Ex vivo generation of functional leukemia cells in a three-dimensional bioreactor.”
Inventors listed on the patent are David Wu, Athanassios Mantalaris, and Nicki Panoskaltsis.
According to its abstract, the patent protects cultured leukemia cells. The culturing method comprises isolating mononuclear cells, which contain leukemia cells, and culturing the leukemia cells in a chamber having a scaffolding covered or surrounded with culture medium, which allows the leukemia cells to have cell-to-cell contacts in three dimensions. The leukemia cells are useful for screening compounds that inhibit or stimulate leukemia cell function or formation, the abstract states.

The Scan

Dropped Charges

The US Justice Department has dropped visa fraud charges against five Chinese researchers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

More Kids

The Associated Press says Moderna is expanding its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine study to included additional children and may include even younger children.

PNAS Papers on Rat Clues to Human Migration, Thyroid Cancer, PolyG-DS

In PNAS this week: ancient rat genome analysis gives hints to human migrations, WDR77 gene mutations in thyroid cancer, and more.

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.