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January 2008
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March 2008

WARF stem cell patent claim upheld by patent office

Bill Novak

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation has won a key patent battle for one of its stem cell patents, after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office upheld the foundation's claim to the patent.

The decision affirms WARF's contention that an initial UW-Madison human embryonic stem cell discovery is a patentable invention.

The decision was announced in a press release this morning from WARF.

Full story.

Bacterial 'battle for survival' leads to new antibiotic

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--MIT biologists have provoked soil-dwelling bacteria into producing a new type of antibiotic by pitting them against another strain of bacteria in a battle for survival.

The antibiotic holds promise for treatment of Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers in humans. Also, figuring out the still murky explanation for how the new antibiotic was produced could help scientists develop strategies for finding other new antibiotics.

The work is reported in the February issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Full story.

Yale scientists create artificial 'cells' that boost the immune response to cancer

New Haven, Conn. — Using artificial cell-like particles, Yale biomedical engineers have devised a rapid and efficient way to produce a 45-fold enhancement of T cell activation and expansion, an immune response important for a patient’s ability to fight cancer and infectious diseases, according to an advance on line report in Molecular Therapy.

The artificial cells, developed by Tarek Fahmy, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Yale and his graduate student Erin Steenblock, are made of a material commonly used for biodegradable sutures. The authors say that the new method is the first “off-the-shelf” antigen-presenting artificial cell that can be tuned to target a specific disease or infection.

“This procedure is likely to make it to the clinic rapidly,” said senior author Fahmy. “All of the materials we use are natural, biodegradable already have FDA approval.”

Cancer, viral infections and autoimmune diseases have responded to immunotherapy that boosts a patient’s own antigen-specific T cells. In those previous procedures, a patient’s immune cells were harvested and then exposed to cells that stimulate the activation and proliferation of antigen-specific T-cells. The “boosted” immune cells were then infused back into the patient to attack the disease.

Full story.

UW accuses Intel in federal lawsuit

Research arm alleges patent violation


Intel Corp.'s popular Core 2 Duo processor, the brain of many of today's personal computers, includes technology created by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers, according to a federal lawsuit accusing Intel of patent infringement.

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, the university's licensing arm, claims that while its application for a patent on the technology was pending, one of its inventors met with Intel and offered to discuss licensing it for use in future Intel products.

But instead of discussing licensing, Intel incorporated the patented technology into its products, including the Core 2 Duo processor, the research foundation's lawsuit says. Intel refuses to obtain a license from the research foundation, the lawsuit contends,

The lawsuit characterizes the technology, which improves computer efficiency and speed, as "a pioneering invention that has been widely recognized as a significant advance in computer microprocessing both by researchers in the field and those in industry."

Full story.

New Way to Kill Viruses: Shake Them to Death

By Michael Schirber, Special to LiveScience

posted: 05 February 2008 09:27 am ET

Scientists may one day be able to destroy viruses in the same way that opera singers presumably shatter wine glasses. New research mathematically determined the frequencies at which simple viruses could be shaken to death.

"The capsid of a virus is something like the shell of a turtle," said physicist Otto Sankey of Arizona State University. "If the shell can be compromised [by mechanical vibrations], the virus can be inactivated."

Recent experimental evidence has shown that laser pulses tuned to the right frequency can kill certain viruses. However, locating these so-called resonant frequencies is a bit of trial and error.

Full story.

Seventh Annual International Bioethics Forum: Evolution in the 21st Century

Gehrke & Associates, SC is a proud sponsor of the Seventh Annual International Bioethics Forum: Evolution in the 21st Century taking place at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center in Madison, WI on April 17th and 18th, 2008. 

Lisa M. Gehrke, JD, MA will be a featured speaker for a discussion session on Patenting Living Organisms.

For more information please visit BTCI’s website.

Finding the right mix

Device to analyze fuel may jumpstart start-up

Posted: Feb. 3, 2008

A small Milwaukee start-up that's attracted strong interest from local angel investing groups is launching its first product, a biodiesel analyzer, at a national industry conference.

A year after spinning its proprietary technology out of Marquette University's engineering school, Paradigm Sensors LLC has five full-time and two contracted employees, and is bringing to market a hand-held sensor that judges the quality of biodiesel fuel.

The $5,000 device is about the size of a cordless phone. It tests for total glycerin, methanol, acid number and the percentage of biodiesel fuel in a blend, said Robert Young, Paradigm's president and chief executive officer.

The sensor emits electric frequencies to measure the electrochemical responses of liquids using a technology called impedance spectroscopy. The device was to make its debut Sunday at the National Biodiesel Board Expo in Orlando, Fla.

"It really is a potential paradigm-shift technology," said Herb Zien, senior vice president of Trigen Cos. in Boston, chairman of Paradigm's board and an investor in the company. "This device can perform onsite, in real time, as compared to having measurements on these oils that go to the lab and take some time to get results back."

The only other way to get the information that Paradigm's device delivers in minutes is to send fuel to a lab, which is expensive and can take several days, said investor George Mosher.

Mosher, Zien and one other member of Wauwatosa-based Silicon Pastures recently invested a total of $150,000 in Paradigm Sensors. That investment brought to $540,000 the amount of money Paradigm has raised, Young said.

Full story.