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US Patent Office Publishes Three RNAi-Related Patent Applications

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Title: Genetic Analysis of Peyer’s Patches and M Cells; and Methods and Compositions Targeting Peyer’s patches and M Cell Receptors. Number: 20030211476. Filed: April 4, 2002. Lead Inventor: Daniel O’Mahony, Elan.

The patent application’s abstract states that the invention involves “methods of increasing … or decreasing the levels of a protein in a [Peyer’s patch] cell.” Peyer’s patches are patches of lymphoid nodules located in the walls of the small intestines.

This method, the application claims, includes delivering to the cell an “antisense nucleic acid molecule, a ribozyme nucleic acid molecule, [or] an RNA interference nucleic acid molecule” where the molecule is “complementary to a sequence of at least 10 … 15 … [or] 30 … nucleotides of the mRNA for said protein, wherein absent said antisense molecule, ribozyme, or RNAi nucleic acid, the levels of said protein or its mRNA is less than in a non-Peyer’s patch cell.”

The application’s abstract also states that the invention covers “methods of increasing antigen, vaccine, [and] DNA vaccine delivery to M cells, use of human serum albumin and other transport-enhancing proteins to enhance oral drug delivery; use of calreticulin to enhance oral antigen delivery, use of other cell surface proteins, receptors, and transporters to enhance delivery to M cells of antigens or vaccine delivery vehicles, use of other cytoplasmic proteins to regulate intracellular trafficking and delivery to mucosal immune sampling and processing systems.”


Title: Methods for Identifying Functionally-Related Genes and Drug Targets. Number: 20030211466. Filed: Dec. 4, 2002. Lead Inventor: Jack Keene, Ribonomics.

The patent application, its abstract states, describes “the identification and evaluation of mRNA and protein targets associated with mRNP complexes and implicated in the expression of proteins involved in common physiological pathways.”

The patent application specifically claims “a method for assessing the metabolic state of a cell … [by] isolating least one mRNP complex comprising one RNA binding protein, and at least one mRNA or at least one mRNP complex-associated protein … [and by] determining the level of expression of the at least one mRNA or the at least one mRNP complex-associated protein, wherein the level of expression of the at least one mRNA or the at least one mRNP complex-associated protein is indicative of the metabolic state of the cell.”


Title: Biological Control. Number: 20030213005. Filed: Sept. 26, 2002. Lead Inventor: Richard Luke Alphey, Oxford University.

The patent application, states its abstract, covers an invention related to “a non-human multicellular organism carrying a dominant lethal genetic system, the lethal effect of which is conditional, wherein the lethal effect of the lethal system occurs in the natural environment of the organism.”

In the invention, “the choice of dominant lethal gene is not critical to the invention,” the patent application specifically states. “There is a wide range of suitable gene products, with varying toxicities. For example mutant forms of cell-signaling or cell-cycle genes are appropriate for use in the present invention. “

Constructs which result in the over-expression of such genes may also be lethal,” it continues. “Similarly, constructs which result in inadequate expression of any essential gene would also be lethal. This might be achieved by expression of an inhibitory sequence, for example antisense RNA, sense RNA, double stranded RNA (‘inhibitory RNA’ or ‘RNAi’) or other inhibitory RNA molecule.”

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