The University of Washington has been awarded US Patent 7,271,007, “Microscale diffusion immunoassay.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Bernhard Weigl, Paul Yager, Andrew Kamholz, and Anson Hatch.
According to its abstract, the patent provides methods and apparatuses for determining the presence and concentration of analytes by exploiting molecular binding reactions and differential diffusion rates. Analyte particles and binding particles are allowed to diffuse toward each other, and slowing of the diffusion front is detected when they meet. From the position of the diffusion front, the presence and concentration of analyte particles can be determined, the abstract states. One embodiment provides a competitive immunoassay in a microfluidic format.
The abstract said that this diffusion immunoassay relies on measuring the concentration of labeled antigen along one dimension of a microchannel after allowing it to diffuse for a short time into a region containing specific antibodies. A simple microfluidic device, the T-Sensor, was used to implement a DIA to measure the concentration of phenytoin, a small drug molecule. Concentrations of analyte over the range of 50 to 1600 nM can be measured in less than a minute.
The abstract went on to say that the assay is homogeneous, rapid, requires only microliter volumes of reagents and sample, and is applicable to a wide range of analytes, including therapeutic drugs, molecular biological markers, and environmental contaminants. Methods for separating particles of similar size in a diffusion separator are also provided in the patent.
Neuromed Pharmaceuticals has been awarded US Patent 7,270,949, “Fluorescence based T-type channel assay.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Francesco Belardetti, Diana Janke, David Parker, and Terrance Snutch.
The patent describes a fluorescence based assay for compounds that modulate T-type calcium ion channels and that can be adapted to high-throughput screening formats, the abstract stated. The inventors pointed out that modulators of T-type channels are useful to correct functional abnormalities. These abnormalities are associated with epilepsy, pain, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, cardiac arrhythmia, hypertension, certain types of cancer, diabetes, infertility, sexual dysfunction, and other undesirable conditions.
Cytovia has been awarded US Patent 7,270,801, “Fluorogenic or fluorescent reporter molecules and their applications for whole-cell fluorescence screening assays for caspases and other enzymes and the use thereof.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Eckard Weber, Sui Xiong Cai, John Keana, John Drewe, and Han-Zhong Zhang.
The invention provides novel fluorescent dyes, novel fluorogenic and fluorescent reporter molecules, and new enzyme assay protocols that can be used to detect the activity of caspases and other enzymes involved in apoptosis in whole cells, cell lines, and tissue samples derived from any living organism or organ, the abstract said. The reporter molecules and assay processes can be used in drug screening procedures to identify compounds that act as inhibitors or inducers of the caspase cascade in whole cells or tissues. The reagents and assays described in the patent are also useful for determining the chemosensitivity of human cancer cells to treatment with chemotherapeutic drugs. The invention also relates to novel fluorogenic and fluorescent reporter molecules and new enzyme assay processes that can be used to detect the activity of type 2 methionine aminopeptidase, dipeptidyl peptidase IV, calpain, aminopeptidase, HIV protease, adenovirus protease, HSV-1 protease, HCMV protease, and HCV protease.
Aurora Discovery has been awarded US Patent 7,270,784, “Automated laboratory for high-throughput biological assays and RNA interference.”
The inventors listed on the patent are Minh Vuong, Todd Bennett, Javier Flores, Brian Grot, Daniel Hale, Huy Nguyen, Walter Niles, Tuong Phan, Steve Rodems, Jeff Stack, and Peter Coassin.
The abstract said that this invention is an automated multiple-purpose, integrated laboratory system comprising interchangeable modular elements for the construction and measurement of biological assays. The functions of the modular elements may include multiwell platform handling, chemical reagent or cell management, volumetric transfer of liquids for assay construction or for recovery of reaction products for analysis, incubation under controlled environmental conditions, measurement of spectrometric signals originating from the assays, and processing and analysis of the resulting spectrometric data.
According to the abstract, the modular elements are arranged around a number of robotic elements that deliver plates to different modular elements, transfer plates to groups of modules served by a different robotic element, or other actions necessary in plate handling. Liquid transfer to and from multiwell platforms, necessary for assay construction or for the initiation of physiological events in cells, is partitioned among different modules specialized for transferring nanoliter or smaller volume quantities of chemical concentrates, or microliter quantities of assay reagents, cells, media, and other assay constituents.
Applications of this invention include the quantitation and analysis of the expression of multiple genes in cells, measurement of multi-gene expression kinetics, analysis of activation or suppression of multiple signal transduction pathways, and screening chemical compounds for modulatory effects on multi-gene expression or on signal transduction pathways or on other biochemical networks of cells.