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IP Roundup, Aug 2, 2011


STMicroelectronics of Geneva has received US Patent No. 7,988,841, "Treatment of biological samples using dielectrophoresis." The patent discusses a device that relies on electrodes in a microchannel for separation, lysis, and PCR. According to the patent, cells from a sample are brought to the electrodes. Depending on sample properties, phase pattern, frequency, and voltage of the electrodes and flow velocity are chosen to trap target cells using dielectrophoresis, where the majority of unwanted cells are flushed through. After separation the target cells are lysed while still trapped. Lysis is carried out by applying radiofrequency pulses to change the dielectric properties of the trapped cells. After lysis, the target cells are amplified within the microchannel, obtaining separation, lysis, and PCR on the same chip.

Samsung Electronics of Seoul, Korea, has received US Patent No. 7,988,915, "Microfluidic device using microfluidic chip and microfluidic device using biomolecule microarray chip." The patent describes a microfluidic chip containing a microarray that can be used for immune serum examination. The device consists of a microfluidic structure disposed on a platform containing a number of chambers, and valves that control the flow of fluids through the channels. A microarray is also mounted on the platform so that capture probes bound to the array contact the fluid sample in the microfluidic structure.

DermTech International of San Diego has received US Patent No. 7,989,165, "Tape stripping methods for analysis of skin disease and pathological skin state." Non-invasive methods for detecting, monitoring, and diagnosing skin disease and pathological skin states such as irritated skin and psoriasis are claimed. The methods include using tape stripping to harvest RNA from skin samples, and then hybridizing that RNA to microarrays to analyze expression of one or more skin markers.

The University of Maryland of Baltimore has received US Patent No. 7,989,220, "Metal-enhanced fluorescence for polarization-based affinity assays." A functionalized substrate that includes metallic nanoparticles and contains identical bioactive target molecules affixed is claimed. According to the patent, these bioactive target molecules are capable of binding to a particular analyte. Reagents are also claimed that include identical detection molecules. Each detection molecule includes a fluorophore and binds to a particular analyte or competes with a particular analyte for binding to the target molecule. According to the methods, the functionalized substrate is contacted to a test sample and the reagent. The functionalized substrate and a covering solution are exposed to polarized electromagnetic waves that excite the fluorophore. A quantity of the particular analyte in the test sample is then determined based on measuring polarization anisotropy of fluorescent emissions from the substrate and the covering solution.

Stanford University of Palo Alto, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,989,396, "Biomolecule immobilization on biosensors." Surface chemistry for immobilization of amine-terminated probes is disclosed. The chemistry consists of a bi-layered polymer thin film that serves as the platform for coupling the probes. The process of creating the film involves sequentially coating a substrate with polyamine and polyacid anhydride. Hydrolyzed polyacid anhydride groups may be converted to non-hydrolyzed groups at about 212 degrees Fahrenheit prior to probe attachment. According to the inventors, the surface chemistry is compatible with microfabrication processes.

Affymetrix of Santa Clara, Calif., has received US Patent No. 7,991,560, "System, method, and computer software for the presentation and storage of analysis results." Methods are described that can be used to process emission intensity data corresponding to probes of a biological probe array. A computer program is provided that includes a genotype and statistical analysis manager that determines absolute or relative expression values based, at least in part, on a statistical measure of the emission intensity data and at least one user-selectable statistical parameter. The analysis manager may also determine genotype calls for one or more probes based, at least in part, on the emission intensity data, the patent states. The analysis manager may further display the absolute or relative expression values based, at least in part, on at least one user-selectable display parameter. According to the patent, the measure of normalized change may be based, at least in part, on a comparison of genotype calls and a reference value.

Affymetrix has also received US Patent No. 7,991,564, "Methods for high throughput genotyping." Methods for genotyping polymorphisms using allele specific probes are claimed, where a training set is used to generate a model for each polymorphism to be interrogated. More specifically, the training set is used to obtain an estimate of the asymmetry between an intensity measurement for a first allele and an intensity measurement for a second allele of the same polymorphism. The intensity measurement obtained for a test sample is adjusted using the estimate of asymmetry prior to using the intensity measurements to make a genotyping call.

Affymetrix has also received US Patent No. 7,992,098, "System, method, and computer software product for linked window interfaces." A graphical user interface is described that consists of three windows. The first window in the GUI includes image features consisting of a pseudo-image of a scanned probe array. According to the patent, the image features represent hybridization reactions associated with a probe of the array. The second window includes data features, each relating to one or more quantifications of hybridization reactions associated with a probe of the array. This second window may be, for example, a scatter plot of hybridization intensities of probes to labeled samples. The third window includes descriptive features such as rows of a spreadsheet, where each row may include descriptive elements associated with a probe.

The Scan

Call to Look Again

More than a dozen researchers penned a letter in Science saying a previous investigation into the origin of SARS-CoV-2 did not give theories equal consideration.

Not Always Trusted

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Identified Decades Later

A genetic genealogy approach has identified "Christy Crystal Creek," the New York Times reports.

Science Papers Report on Splicing Enhancer, Point of Care Test for Sexual Transmitted Disease

In Science this week: a novel RNA structural element that acts as a splicing enhancer, and more.