May 07, 2015

April 2015 patents: Small-scale fabrication, thin-film muscles, quality control, and more

Professors Kit Parker, Marko Loncar, Mikhail Lukin, David Weitz, George Church, and Stuart Schreiber were among the faculty members to be issued U.S. patents this April. The patents include:

Assays and other reactions involving droplets (U.S. Patent 9,017,948; April 28, 2015)

Jeremy Agresti, Liang-Yin Chu, David A. Weitz, Jin-Woong Kim, Amy Rowat, Morten Sommer, Gautam Dantas, George Church

The present invention generally relates to droplets and/or emulsions, such as multiple emulsions. In some cases, the droplets and/or emulsions may be used in assays, and in certain embodiments, the droplet or emulsion may be hardened to form a gel. In some aspects, a heterogeneous assay can be performed using a gel. For example, a droplet may be hardened to form a gel, where the droplet contains a cell, DNA, or other suitable species. The gel may be exposed to a reactant, and the reactant may interact with the gel and/or with the cell, DNA, etc., in some fashion. For example, the reactant may diffuse through the gel, or the hardened particle may liquefy to form a liquid state, allowing the reactant to interact with the cell. As a specific example, DNA contained within a gel particle may be subjected to PCR (polymerase chain reaction) amplification, e.g., by using PCR primers able to bind to the gel as it forms. As the DNA is amplified using PCR, some of the DNA will be bound to the gel via the PCR primer. After the PCR reaction, unbound DNA may be removed from the gel, e.g., via diffusion or washing. Thus, a gel particle having bound DNA may be formed in one embodiment of the invention.

Treatment of protein degradation disorders (U.S. Patent 8,999,289; April 7, 2015)

Kenneth C. Anderson, James E. Bradner, Edward Franklin Greenberg, Teru Hideshima, Nicholas Paul Kwiatkowski, Ralph Mazitschek, Stuart L. Schreiber, Jared Shaw, Stephen J. Haggarty

The invention relates to methods of treating protein degradation disorders, such cellular proliferative disorders (e.g., cancer) and protein deposition disorders (e.g., neurodegenerative disorders). The invention provides methods and pharmaceutical compositions for treating these diseases using aggresome inhibitors or combinations of aggresome inhibitors and proteasome inhibitors. The invention further relates to methods and pharmaceutical compositions for treating multiple myeloma. New HDAC/TDAC inhibitors and aggresome inhibitors are also provided as well as synthetic methodologies for preparing these compounds.

Controlled release of growth factors and signaling molecules for promoting angiogenesis (U.S. Patent 9,012,399; April 21, 2015)

Lan Cao, David J. Mooney

The present invention comprises compositions, methods, and devices for delivering angiogenic factors and signaling molecules to a target tissue, and controlling the release of these factors and signaling molecules to spatially and temporally restrict their release and dissemination, for the purpose of promoting angiogenesis in target tissues.

Quality control bioassays for nutriceutical and medicinal products (U.S. Patent 8,999,646; April 7, 2015)

Jose A. Halperin, Huseyin Aktas

Bioassays for detecting the ability of one sample of a food substance, nutritional supplement, therapeutic agent and/or disease preventive agent relative to that of a second sample of such a substance, supplement and/or agent to inhibit, upregulate or otherwise modulate translation initiation, and thereby demonstrate a disease curative and/or preventive effect in a human and/or animal that consumes a such substance, supplement and/or agent or to whom a such substance, supplement and/or agent is administered are provided.

Small-scale fabrication systems and methods (U.S. Patent 8,999,105; April 7, 2015)

Marko Loncar, Mikhail D. Lukin, Michael J. Burek, Nathalie de Leon, Brendan Shields

An etch mask is formed on a substrate. The substrate is positioned in an enclosure configured to shield an interior of the enclosure from electromagnetic fields exterior to the enclosure; and the substrate is etched in the enclosure, including removing a portion of the substrate to form a structure having at least a portion that is isolated and/or suspended over the substrate.

Engineered conductive polymer films to mediate biochemical interactions (U.S. Patent 9,018,019; April 28, 2015)

Kevin Kit Parker, Megan O’Grady

The conductive polymer films of this disclosure reversibly and selectively mediate ligand-receptor interactions. This electrochemical manipulation of biochemical interactions is accomplished by embedding or adsorbing receptors for ligands of interest in or onto a conductive polymer matrix. The matrix can also be doped, for example, with desired ions, polyions, or surfactants. Depending on the receptor properties and dopants utilized, ligand-receptor interactions at the polymer-electrolyte interface are manipulated by controlling the oxidation and reduction of the conductive polymer. The intrinsic charge transfer characteristics of conductive polymers are used to modulate ligand-receptor interactions.

Devices comprising muscle thin films and uses thereof in high-throughput assays for determining contractile function (U.S. Patent 9,012,172; April 21, 2015)

Kevin Kit Parker, Adam Walter Feinberg, Patrick W. Alford, Anna Grosberg, Mark D. Brigham, Josue Adrian Goss

The present invention provides high throughput assays for identifying compounds that modulate a contractile function, as well as devices suitable for use in these assays.

Porous electroactive hydrogels and uses thereof (U.S. Patent 8,999,378; April 7, 2015)

Kevin Kit Parker, Megan O’Grady

The present invention provides porous electroactive hydrogels, the deformation angle of which is controlled by electroactuation, and methods for preparing and using such hydrogels.

Light absorption and filtering properties of vertically oriented semiconductor nano wires (U.S. Patent 9,000,353; April 7, 2015)

Kwanyong Seo, Munib Wober, Paul Steinvurzel, Ethan Schonbrun, Yaping Dan, Kenneth B. Crozier

A nanowire array is described herein. The nanowire array comprises a substrate and a plurality of nanowires extending essentially vertically from the substrate; wherein: each of the nanowires has uniform chemical along its entire length; a refractive index of the nanowires is at least two times of a refractive index of a cladding of the nanowires. This nanowire array is useful as a photodetector, a submicron color filter, a static color display or a dynamic color display.

Engineering and optimization of systems, methods and compositions for sequence manipulation with functional domains (U.S. Patent 8,999,641; April 7, 2015)

Feng Zhang, Le Cong, Randall Jeffrey Platt, Neville Espi Sanjana

The invention provides for engineering and optimization of systems, methods, and compositions for manipulation of sequences and/or activities of target sequences. Provided are vectors and vector systems, some of which encode one or more components of a CRISPR complex, as well as methods for the design and use of such vectors with additional functional domains. Also provided are methods of directing CRISPR complex formation in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells to ensure enhanced specificity for target recognition and avoidance of toxicity.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157