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IP Update: Recent Patents Awarded to Max Planck, Tokyo Women's Medical University

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Title: RNA Sequence-specific Mediators of RNA Interference

Patent Number: 8,552,171

Filed: Oct. 4, 2010

Lead Inventor: Thomas Tuschl, Max Planck Institute

The invention, the patent's abstract states, relates to a "Drosophila in vitro system which was used to demonstrate that dsRNA is processed to RNA segments 21 [to] 23 nucleotides in length. Furthermore, when these … fragments are purified and added back to Drosophila extracts, they mediate RNA interference in the absence of long dsRNA. Thus, these … fragments are the sequence-specific mediators of RNA degradation. A molecular signal, which may be their specific length, must be present in these … fragments to recruit cellular factors involved in RNAi. This present invention encompasses these … fragments and their use for specifically inactivating gene function. The use of these fragments enables the targeting of specific mRNAs for degradation in mammalian cells, where the use of long dsRNAs to elicit RNAi is usually not practical, presumably because of the deleterious effects of the interferon response. This specific targeting of a particular gene function is useful in functional genomic and therapeutic applications."


Title: Composition for Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Patent Number: 8,551,971

Filed: Sept. 13, 2010

Lead Inventor: Toru Furukawa, Tokyo Women's Medical University

The patent, its abstract states, claims a "composition for treating pancreatic cancer … [comprising] a pharmaceutically effective amount of an antisense nucleic acid or siRNA that inhibits expression of at least one gene selected from the group consisting of [the] SON gene, MCM5 gene, WDR5 gene, PBK gene, and CENPA gene. The composition inhibits the expression of a specific gene to provide the effect of inhibiting the proliferation, survival and tumorigenicity of pancreatic cancer cells."

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