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IP Update: Recent Patents, Patent Applications Awarded to UNC, Alnylam, FSU, and More

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Title: Screening of microRNA Cluster Inhibitor Pools

Patent Number: 8,367,318

Filed: July 21, 2008

Lead Inventor: Anja Smith, Dharmacon (Thermo Fisher Scientific)

The patent, its abstract states, claims “methods for inhibiting the activity of a miRNA cluster in a cell and ... for screening a cell for a phenotype of interest resulting from inhibition of a miRNA cluster. The methods use a cluster pool which comprises at least one miRNA inhibitor specific for each miRNA in the miRNA cluster.” The miRNA inhibitors “induce apoptosis in breast cancer cells and hence are useful in the treatment of breast cancer.”

Also claimed, the abstract states, are “pharmaceutical compositions … useful for the treatment of breast cancer; methods for inducing the nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB in a breast cancer cell; methods for inducing the nuclear translocation of c-Jun in a breast cancer cell; method for inhibiting the nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB in a breast cancer cell; and methods for providing prognostic medical information relating to breast cancer progression.”


Title: Method for Inhibiting Expression of a Protein in a Hepatocyte

Patent Number: 8,367,630

Filed: Aug. 28, 2009

Lead Inventor: Xianbin Tian, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The patent application, its abstract states, claims “a method of screening a candidate compound for susceptibility to biliary excretion by a hepatocyte transport protein. In some embodiments, the method can comprise inhibiting expression of the transport protein. Expression of the transport protein can be inhibited through introduction of a RNA having a sequence corresponding to a coding strand of the gene encoding the transport protein into the hepatocyte.”


Title: Methods of Treating B Cell Cancers

Patent Number: 8,367,633

Filed: Aug. 6, 2008

Lead Inventor: Luojing Chen, University of Rochester

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, relates to “methods of causing malignant B cells and treating malignant B cells. These methods involve the use of an inhibitor of PKK activity, whether active directly against PKK or effective to knockdown PKK expression, which when introduced into a malignant B cell, or administered to a patient, is effective to cause cell death of the malignant B cell, thereby treating the B cell malignancy.”

Inhibitors of the invention include RNAi agents, the patent application states.


Title: Pharmaceutical Composition for Treating Cancer

Application Number: 20130028957

Filed: Nov. 1, 2010

Lead Inventor: Misun Won, Korean Research Institute of Bioscience & Biotechnology

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, “provides a pharmaceutical composition for treating cancer, comprising at least one selected from deoxyribonucleic acids for encoding small interfering RNA [that] complementarily binds to the base sequence of the transcript of the FLJ25416 gene ... which is known to be expressed in cancer cells. … The composition of the present invention can be used as a novel anti-cancer agent.”


Titles: Novel RNAi Therapeutic for Treatment of Hepatitis C Infection

Application Numbers: 20130028964, 20130028965

Filed: Oct. 2, 2012

Inventor: Hengli Tang, Florida State University

The invention, the patent applications' abstracts state, comprises siRNAs and shRNAs that target human cyclophilin A to inhibit hepatitis C infection. “Such siRNA and shRNAs may have a length of from about 19 to about 29 contiguous nucleotides corresponding to a specific region of human cyclophilin A cDNA. … Such siRNA and shRNAs may be formulated as naked compositions or pharmaceutical compositions. DNA polynucleotides, plasmids, and viral or non-viral vectors are also provided that encode siRNA or shRNA molecules, which may be delivered directly to cells or in combination with delivery agents, such as lipids, polymers, encapsulated lipid particles, such as liposomes. Methods for treating, managing, inhibiting, [and] preventing ... HCV infection using such siRNA and shRNAs and compositions comprising same are also provided.”


Title: Suppressors of RNA Silencing as Modulators of miRNA Levels

Application Number: 20130029417

Filed: Feb. 18, 2011

Lead Inventor: Maria Cecilia Sarmiento Guerin, Tallinn University of Technology

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, comprises “RNA silencing suppressors or interactors of the suppressors to bring the expression of microRNAs involved in any disease, including malignant neoplasia, back to its normal level. More specifically, the … invention provides a method to regulate many miRNAs at the same time. Most of the suppressors according to this invention are coded by plant viruses that unexpectedly can affect RNA silencing and modulate miRNA expression levels in mammalian cells. Also suppressors of endogenous origin are described as able to modulate miRNA expression levels.”


Title: Genetic Inhibition by Double-Stranded RNA

Application Number: 20130029425

Filed: July 25, 2012

Lead Inventor: Andrew Fire, Carnegie Institution

The invention comprises “a process … of introducing an RNA into a living cell to inhibit gene expression of a target gene in that cell,” the patent application's abstract states. “The process may be practiced ex vivo or in vivo. The RNA has a region with double-stranded structure. Inhibition is sequence-specific in that the nucleotide sequences of the duplex region of the RNA and of a portion of the target gene are identical. The ... invention is distinguished from prior art interference in gene expression by antisense or triple-strand methods.”


Title: RNAi Modulation of RSV and Therapeutic Uses Thereof

Application Number: 20130030037

Filed: Aug. 7, 2012

Inventor: Rachel Meyers, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, is “based on the in vivo demonstration that RSV can be inhibited through intranasal administration of iRNA agents, as well as by parenteral administration of such agents. Further, it is shown that effective viral reduction can be achieved with more than one virus being treated concurrently. Based on these findings, the ... invention provides general and specific compositions and methods that are useful in reducing RSV mRNA levels, RSV protein levels and viral titers in a subject. These findings can be applied to other respiratory viruses.”


Title: Nucleic Acids for Targeting Multiple Regions of the HCV Genome

Application Number: 20130030042

Filed: Sept. 4, 2012

Inventor: Linda Cuoto, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

The patent application, its abstract states, claims “compositions and methods effective for modulating Hepatitis C viral infection.”

Such compositions include a microRNA cassette comprising nucleic acids targeting multiple regions of the HCV genome, the application notes.

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.