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Five RNAi-Related Patent Applications Published by the US Patent Office: Oct 29, 2004

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Title: RNA Interference-Mediated Inhibition of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor Gene Expression Using Short-Interfering Nucleic Acid. Number: 20040209832. Filed: Sept. 23, 2003. Lead Inventor: James McSwiggen, Sirna Therapeutics.

According to the patent application’s abstract, the invention “concerns methods and reagents useful in modulating vascular endothelial growth factor and/or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor gene expression in a variety of applications, including use in therapeutic, diagnostic, target validation, and genomic discovery applications. Specifically, the invention relates to small nucleic acid molecules, such as short-interfering nucleic acid, short-interfering RNA, double-stranded RNA, microRNA, and short-hairpin RNA molecules capable of mediating RNA interference against VEGF and/or VEGFr gene expression and/or activity.”

The abstract notes that “the small nucleic acid molecules are useful in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, proliferative diseases, and any other disease or condition that responds to modulation of VEGF and/or VEGFr expression or activity.”


Title: RNA Interference-Mediated Inhibition of Hepatitis C Virus Gene Expression Using Short-Interfering Nucleic Acid. Number: 20040209831. Filed: Sept. 16, 2003. Lead Inventor: James McSwiggen, Sirna Therapeutics.

“The present invention concerns methods and reagents useful in modulating hepatitis C virus gene expression in a variety of applications, including use in therapeutic, diagnostic, target validation, and genomic discovery applications,” the patent application’s abstract states. “Specifically, the invention relates to small nucleic acid molecules, such as short interfering nucleic acid, short-interfering RNA, double-stranded RNA, microRNA, and short hairpin RNA molecules capable of mediating RNA interference against hepatitis C virus gene expression and/or activity. The small nucleic acid molecules are useful in the treatment and diagnosis of HCV infection, liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, cirrhosis, and any other disease or condition that responds to modulation of HCV expression or activity.”


Title: Transgenic Plants Showing an Increased Accumulation of Starch. Number: 20040205845. Filed: May 7, 2004. Lead Inventor: Babette Regierer, Max Planck Society.

“Described [in the patent application] are transgenic plants showing an increased accumulation of starch and/or an increased yield in starch-storing parts, organs or tissues due to a reduction of the endogenous adenylate kinase activity in cells of the plant,” the application’s abstract states. “Accordingly, such a reduction can be achieved by introducing a nucleic acid molecule, e.g. a nucleic acid molecule encoding a suitable antisense RNA, into the plant genome. Furthermore, recombinant nucleic acid molecules and methods for the production of such plants are described.”


Title: Method for Reducing Gene Expression. Number: 20040205840. Filed: March 22, 2004. Lead Inventor: Pramod Mahajan, Pioneer Hi-Bred International.

“The invention provides novel methods and compositions for reducing plant gene expression,” the patent application’s abstract states. “Included are plants, plant cells, and seed containing a polynucleotide with reduced expression.”

Specifically, the application covers a method of “destabilizing mRNA encoded by a target polynucleotide in a plant cell [by] … introducing an oligonucleotide into the plant cell, [with the] oligonucleotide being designed to produce at least one active RDS element in the target polynucleotide; and maintaining the oligonucleotide within the nucleus of the plant cell whereby the mRNA of the target polynucleotide is destabilized.”


Title: Transposon-Insulated Element Delivery Systems. Number: 20040203158. Filed: Jan. 15, 2004. Lead Inventor: Perry Hackett, University of Minnesota.

The invention, the patent application’s abstract states, comprises the use of “an insulator element in a transposon having at least one transcriptional unit and at least one insulator element.”

The transcriptional unit or units “may be flanked by at least one insulator element on each side,” the abstract notes. “The transcriptional unit may include an exogenous nucleic acid for introduction into a cell, e.g., DNA encoding a marker molecule. The insulator element may include a binding site for a CTCF protein.”

The abstract notes that a “transcriptional unit may be disposed between a first insulator element and a second insulator element, and the first insulator element and the second insulator element may be disposed between inverted repeats of a transposon. The exogenous nucleic acid may be, e.g., DNA encoding an antisense RNA or siRNA.”

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