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Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Derek Van Der Kooy, Vincent Tropepe, Chan Test, Stem Cells, Surface Logix, Pharmacia & Upjohn

The Universite Pierre et Marie Curie of Paris, France, and the Universite De Geneve in Switzerland have been awarded US Patent 7,211,564, “Methods and construction and screening of libraries of chemokine variants.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Guy Gorochov, Oliver Hartley, Karim Dorgham, Patrice Debre, and Robin Offord.
The patent covers a method for the design and/or the selection of agonist or antagonist chemokine variants. The abstract states that this method combines a phage display technology and a screening on living cells expressing the receptor of the corresponding native chemokine. The patent also provides RANTES variants having agonist properties towards said receptor, and methods for preventing and/or curing viral diseases, in addition to clues for preventing and/or curing inflammatory or malignant diseases.

Derek Van Der Kooy of Toronto, Canada, and Vincent Tropepe of Boston, Mass, have been awarded US Patent 7,211,434, “Primitive neural stem cells and method for differentiation of stem cells to neural cells.”
The patent describes a novel cell type in the neural lineage, and a method of producing the same based on the degree of neural commitment and growth factor responsiveness in vitro. The document also covers the potential to give rise to neural and non-neural progeny in vivo. According to the patent, “The novel cell type of neural lineage and cells derived therefrom have a number of applications including applications regarding tissue engineering, transplantation, gene therapy, and drug discovery.” The patent also describes suggested uses of the method and cell type, including isolating genes that positively and negatively regulate the transition from an embryonic stem cell to a neural cell, and generally for studying embryonic stem cell models of mammalian neural development.

Chan Test of Cleveland, Ohio, has been awarded US Patent 7,211,407, “High throughput assay systems and methods for identifying agents that alter surface expression of integral membrane proteins.”
Inventors listed on the patent are Arthur Brown, Eckhard Ficker, and Barbara Wible.
The patent covers high throughput assay systems and methods for identifying agents that alter the level of surface expression of integral membrane proteins, such as cardiac ion channels, in mammalian cells, according to the abstract. The patent also describes therapeutic methods of using agents identified using such methods.

Stem Cells, of Palo Alto, Calif, has been awarded US Patent 7,211,404, “Liver engrafting cells, assays, and uses thereof.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Eric Lagasse and Timothy Austin.
The patent covers a substantially enriched mammalian hepatic liver engrafting cell population, according to the abstract. Methods are provided for the isolation and culture of this liver engrafting cell. The abstract said that the progenitor cells are obtained from a variety of sources, including fetal and adult tissues. “The cells are useful in transplantation, for experimental evaluation, and as a source of lineage and cell specific products, including mRNA species useful in identifying genes specifically expressed in these cells, and as targets for the discovery of factors or molecules that can affect them,” according to the abstract.

Surface Logix of Brighton, Mass, has been awarded US Patent 7,211,209, “Method of making devices for arraying biomolecules and for monitoring cell motility in real-time.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Enoch Kim, Gregory Kirk, Olivier Schueller, and Emanuelle Ostuni
The abstract states, “the invention relates to devices for arraying biomolecules, including cells, methods for arraying biomolecules, assays for monitoring cellular movement, and systems for monitoring cellular movement.” According to the abstract, the devices include a support and a first layer configured to be placed in fluid-tight contact with the support. The devices also include a second layer that defines a pattern of macro-orifices, each macro-orifice of the pattern having walls and defining a macro-region when the first layer is placed in fluid-tight contact with the support and the second layer is placed in fluid-tight contact with the first layer.

Pharmacia & Upjohn of Kalamazoo, Mich, has been awarded US Patent 7,208,591, “G protein-coupled receptor-like receptors and modulators thereof.”
Inventors listed on the patent are David Lowery, Timothy Geary, Teresa Kubiak, and Martha Larsen.
The patent covers neuropeptide ligands, G protein-coupled receptors, and methods of screening for modulators of receptor activity. According to the abstract, “Identified modulators, including neuropeptide ligand mimetics, are useful as biostatic and biocidal agents of varying scope, ranging from lethal activity restricted to particular invertebrate parasites to broad spectrum invertebrate parasiticides active on a wide range of invertebrates, including helminths and insects.”

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.