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The US Department of Health and Human Services, Quantum Dot Corporation, Marquette University, The University of Chicago, and Gendaq


The US Department of Health and Human Services has received US Patent No. 6,734,014, "Methods and compositions for transforming dendritic cells and activating T-cells," for an invention by Patric Hwu, Mark Reeves, and Steven Rosenberg. The abstract describes recombinant dendritic cells that are made by differentiation of a stem cell into a dendritic cell. These recombinant dendritic cells are antigen presenting cells and activate T-cells against "MHC class I-antigen targets," the abstract states. The patent also describes kits, assays, and therapeutics that are based on the dendritic cells’ activation of T cells. The dendritic cells or the T-cells they activate have applicability in treating cancer, viral infections and parasitic infections. The patent additionally provides therapeutic and pharmaceutical compositions.

This invention, according to the patent, "provides new methods of making recombinant antigen presenting dendritic cells ... which have been very difficult to transduce using existing methods." The new methods can be used for transduction of dendritic cells with any recombinant acid. They also include new ways to express antigenic peptides on MHC molecules on the surface of the dendritic cells. "It was surprisingly discovered that these expressed antigenic peptides are processed and displayed on the surface of the dendritic cells in the context of class I and class II MHC," the patent states. "These recombinant cells expressing antigenic peptides were found to be competent to activate T-cells against target cells expressing selected antigens in vivo. This provides powerful new treatments for cancers and cellular infections, as well as a variety of diagnostic and cell screening assays."

Quantum Dot Corporation has received US Patent No. 6, 734,420, "Differentiable spectral bar code methods and systems." The patent covers methods, devices, systems, and compositions of matter to identify or track a library of elements. It is designed for use with fluids, particulate matter, cells, and similar substances. Spectral codes are derived from a combination of signals from one or more semiconductor nanocrystals. The patent states that these signal wavelengths can be separated within dedicated "wavelength ranges or windows," to facilitate differentiation of spectral codes, and calibration signals within the spectral codes can avoid ambiguity." It also provides for modeling based on prior testing to help derive libraries of acceptable codes.

Dean Jeutter, a professor of biomedical engineering at Marquette University, and Lawrence Hause have received US Patent No. 6,734,442 "Mapping method for a microscope slide." The patent covers a method for producing an infra-red map that utilizes IR coatings on substrates such as microscope slides. This map, according to the patent, is used for positioning of a microscope platform or locating microscope objects without interference from visible or ultraviolet light.

The University of Chicago has received US Patent No. "Gastrokines and derived peptides including inhibitors," for the invention of Terence Martin and colleagues. This patent describes a novel group of gastrokinanes that are called Gastric Antrum Mucosal Protein. One member of the group, a cellular growth factor, has been named AMP-18. AMP-18 genomic DNA, cDNA and the AMP-18 protein have been sequenced for human, mouse and pig. "Surprisingly, peptides capable of inhibiting the effects of the complete protein, are also derived from the AMP-18 protein," the patent states. According to the patent, the use of the proteins facilitates control of mammalian gastro-intestinal tissue growth and repair, and makes them candidates for therapies.

Yen Choo of Gendaq has received US Patent No. 6,733,970, "Screening system for zinc finger polypeptides for a desired binding ability." This invention covers a method for producing a zinc finger nucleic acid binding protein that includes preparation of a zinc finger protein according to certain design rules, then varying the protein at one or more positions and selecting variants of the proteins that bind to a target nucleic acid sequence through polysome display.


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.