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USPTO Publishes Three RNAi-Related Patents

Title: microRNA Molecules
Numbers: 7,232,806
Filed: Sept. 27, 2002 PCT Filed: Sept. 27, 2002
Lead Inventor: Thomas Tuschl, Max Planck
“In Caenorhabditis elegans, lin-4 and let-7 encode 22- and 21-nucleotide RNAs, respectively, that function as key regulators of developmental timing,” the patent’s abstract states. “Because the appearance of these short RNAs is regulated during development, they are also referred to as small temporal RNAs. We show that many more 21- and 22-nt expressed RNAs, termed microRNAs, exist in invertebrates and vertebrates, and that some of these novel RNAs, similar to let-7 stRNA, are also highly conserved. This suggests that sequence-specific post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms mediated by small RNAs are more general than previously appreciated.”

Title: Methods of Modulating IKK-alpha Activity
Numbers: 7,235,654
Filed: Dec. 8, 2003
Lead Inventor: Jun Li, Boehringer Ingelheim
According to the patent’s abstract, the invention comprises a method for “modulating NF-kappa B-dependent gene transcription in a cell comprised of modulating IKK-alpha protein activity in the cell. The … invention also provides siRNA compositions and methods thereof for modulating NF-kappa B-dependent gene transcription.”

Title: Methods of Inhibiting Manganese-Containing Superoxide Dismutase 2 (MnSOD)
Numbers: 7,232,808
Filed: Aug. 1, 2005
Lead Inventor: Douglas Trask, University of Iowa
The invention “provides RNA molecules, e.g., antisense, RNAi, or siRNA, specific for MnSOD, and further provides methods of reducing expression of MnSOD in cells, e.g., cancer cells.”

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.