June 28, 2017

June 2017 patents

Innovations in tissue engineering, treating Ebola, diagnosing sickle-cell, reinforced polymer composites, paper-based force sensors, anti-PD-1 antibodies, synthesis of tetracyclines, and more

Harvard faculty Kit Parker, David Mooney, George Whitesides, Neel Joshi, Arlene Sharpe, Joanna Aizenberg, Doug Melton, Rob Wood, Andy Myers, Ali Khademhosseini, and George Church are among the inventors issued U.S. patents during June 2017.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Tissue-engineered pumps and valves and uses thereof
U.S. Patent 9,669,141 (June 6, 2017)

Kevin Kit Parker, Josue A. Goss, Sung-Jin Park, Andrew K. Capulli, Holly M. Golecki, Janna C. Nawroth, and John O. Dabiri

Abstract: The present invention provides tissue-engineered pumps and valves, methods of fabricating such pumps and valves, and methods of use of such pumps and valves.

Injectable cryogel vaccine devices and methods of use thereof
U.S. Patent 9,675,561 (June 13, 2017)

Sidi A. Bencherif, Roger Warren Sands, Sandeep T. Koshy, and David J. Mooney

Abstract: The invention provides polymer compositions for cell and drug delivery.

Method of treating Ebola
U.S. Patent 9,676,763 (June 13, 2017)

James Cunningham, Kyungae Lee, Tao Ren, and Kartik Chandran

Abstract: The present invention relates to compositions and methods for the treatment of infection by enveloped viruses, such as Ebola and Lassa fever viruses.

Multiphase systems for diagnosis of sickle cell disease
U.S. Patent 9,678,088 (June 13, 2017)

George M. Whitesides, Ashok A. Kumar, Jonathan W. Hennek, Caeul Lim, Yovany Moreno, Charles R. Mace, Manoj T. Duraisingh, Matthew R. Patton, Si-yi Ryan Lee, Gaetana D'Alesio-Spina, Carlo Brugnara, and Thomas P. Stossel

Abstract: An aqueous multi-phase system for diagnosis of sickle cell disease is described, including two or more phase-separated phases including: a first aqueous phase including a first phase component and having a first density between about 1.025 g/cm3 and about 1.095 g/cm3; and a second aqueous phase including a second phase component and having a second density between about 1.100 g/cm3 and about 1.140 g/cm3; wherein the first density is lower than the second density; and each of the first and second phase components include at least one polymer.

High throughput multichannel fluorescence microscopy with microlens arrays
U.S. Patent 9,678,323 (June 13, 2017)

Antony Orth and Kenneth B. Crozier

Abstract: A microscope includes a multi-wavelength emitting laser light source. A microscope objective is configured to receive and expand input light emitted from the light source, and a dichroic mirror is configured to reflect the expanded input light. A micro lens array with a plurality of micro lenses splits the reflected and expanded input light onto a fluorescence producing sample. A lens collectively captures the fluorescence for each micro lens in the plurality of micro lenses, and a camera receives the fluorescence from the lens and produces an image of the sample based on the received fluorescence.

D, L-cyclic peptide nanotube reinforcing agents
U.S. Patent 9,682,168 (June 20, 2017)

Neel Satish Joshi and Daniel James Rubin

Abstract: The disclosed subject matter can provide a nanotube-reinforced polymer composite material comprising a plurality of nanotubes, each nanotube being formed of a plurality of cyclic peptide molecules, disposed within a polymer matrix, such as a biodegradable polymer matrix. A cyclic polymer, such as a cyclic 8-mer, composed of amino acid residues of alternating absolute configurations (D/L, R/S), can self-assemble into nanotubes useful for preparation of the composite polymer material of the invention. For example, the cyclic peptide (QL)4, wherein the glutamine and leucine residues are of opposite absolute configuration, self-assembles into nanotubes, which when formed into a reinforced polymer composite including poly(caprolactone), provides a biocompatible material of greater tensile strength and Young's modulus compared to the poly(caprolactone) material alone. The nanotubes can be prepared by a vapor equilibration technique or by a solvent-nonsolvent precipitation technique. The materials of the invention can be used for implants, stents and the like as well as for synthetic ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and bone for use in the living tissue of a patient in need thereof. For example, a spinal fusion cage comprising a PDLLA polymer matrix with a plurality of nanotubes of the invention can exhibit enhanced stiffness.

MEMS force sensors fabricated using paper substrates
U.S. Patent 9,682,856 (June 20, 2017)

George Whitesides, Xinyu Liu, XiuJun Li, Martin M. Thuo, Michael O'Brien, and Yu Sun

Abstract: MEMS devices fabricated using inexpensive substrate materials such as paper or fabric, are provided. Using paper as a substrate, low cost, simple to prepare, lightweight, disposable piezoresistive sensors, including accelerometers are prepared. Signal-processing circuitry can also be patterned on the substrate material. The sensors can be utilized as two-dimensional sensors, or the paper substrate material can be folded to arrange the sensors in a three dimensional conformation. For example, three sensors can be patterned on a paper substrate and folded into a cube such that the three sensors are orthogonally positioned on the faces of a cube, permitting simultaneous measurement of accelerations along three orthogonal directions (x-y-z). These paper-based sensors can be mass produced by incorporating highly developed technologies for automatic paper cutting, folding, and screen-printing. Also provided are methods of modifying paper for use as a substrate material in MEMS devices.

Antibody molecules to PD-1 and uses thereof
U.S. Patent 9,683,048 (June 20, 2017)

Gordon James Freeman, Arlene Helen Sharpe, Walter A. Blattler, Jennifer Marie Mataraza, Catherine Anne Sabatos-Peyton, Hwai Wen Chang, and Gerhard Johann Frey

Abstract: Antibody molecules that specifically bind to PD-1 are disclosed. The anti-PD-1 antibody molecules can be used to treat, prevent and/or diagnose cancerous or infectious conditions and disorders.

Dynamic and switchable slippery surfaces
U.S. Patent 9,683,197 (June 20, 2017)

Joanna Aizenberg, Benjamin Hatton, Xi Yao, Michael Aizenberg, and Wendong Wang

Abstract: The present disclosure describes a strategy to create self-healing, slippery liquid-infused porous surfaces (SLIPS) that can be modified as desired. Roughened (e.g., porous) surfaces can be utilized to lock in place a lubricating fluid, referred to herein as Liquid B to repel a wide range of objects, referred to herein as Object A (Solid A or Liquid A). Use of an external stimuli or degradation of the Liquid B can be utilized to change the characteristics of SLIPS structures reversibly or irreversibly that may be desired in a number of different applications. Numerous characteristics, such as adhesion, optical, mechanical, and the like, can be dynamically changed.

Methods of reprogramming cells
U.S. Patent 9,683,215 (June 20, 2017)

Douglas A. Melton and Qiao Zhou

Abstract: The present invention provides methods of reprogramming cells, for example, directly reprogramming a somatic cell of a first cell type into a somatic cell of a second cell type, are described herein. In particular, the present invention generally relates to methods for reprogramming a cell of an endoderm origin to a cell having pancreatic β-cell characteristics. The present invention also relates to an isolated population comprising reprogrammed cells, compositions and their use in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. In particular, the present invention relates to reprogramming a cell of an endoderm origin to a cell having pancreatic β-cell characteristics by increasing the protein expression of at least one transcription factor selected from Pdx1, Ngn3 or MafA in the cell of endoderm origin to reprogram the cell of an endoderm cell to a cell which exhibits at least one or at least two characteristics of an endogenous pancreatic β-cell.

Fluidic structures including meandering and wide channels
U.S. Patent 9,683,993 (June 20, 2017)

Vincent Linder, Samuel K. Sia, George M. Whitesides, Max Narovlyansky, and Adam Carlyn Siegel

Abstract: The present invention relates generally to microfluidic structures, and more specifically, to microfluidic structures and methods including meandering and wide channels. Microfluidic systems can provide an advantageous environment for performing various reactions and analyses due to a reduction in sample and reagent quantities that are required, a reduction in the size of the operating system, and a decrease in reaction time compared to conventional systems. Unfortunately, the small size of microfluidic channels can sometimes result in difficulty in detecting a species without magnifying optics (such as a microscope or a photomultiplier). A series of tightly packed microchannels, i.e., a meandering region, or a wide channel having a dimension on the order of millimeters, can serve as a solution to this problem by creating a wide measurement area. Although this invention mainly describes the use of meandering and wide channels in heterogeneous immunoassays on a microfluidic chip, this invention could be used for amplifying optical signals for other types of reactions and/or assays.

Foldable machines
U.S. Patent 9,686,867 (June 20, 2017)

Daniela Rus, Robert J. Wood, Cagdas Denizel Onal, and Michael Tolley

Abstract: Methods to systematize the development of machines using inexpensive, fast, and convenient fabrication processes are disclosed. In an embodiment, a folding pattern and corresponding circuit design can provide the blueprints for fabrication. The folding pattern may be provided (e.g. laser machined) on a flat sheet of substrate material, such as a polymer. The circuit pattern may be generated by etching or applying (e.g. sputtering) a copper foil layer onto the substrate. Circuit components and actuators may then be added at specified locations. The flat substrate may then be folded along the predefined locations to form the final machine. The machine may operate autonomously to perform a task.

Portable prosthetic hand with soft pneumatic fingers
U.S. Patent 9,687,362 (June 27, 2017)

Bobak Mosadegh, Brandon Grant Gerberich, and George M. Whitesides

Abstract: A finger actuator, includes a plurality of fluidically interconnected inflatable chambers, wherein each chamber comprises outer walls having an embedded extensible layer selected to constrain radial expansion and freestanding inner walls; and an inextensible layer connected to the chambers at a base of the chambers, the inextensible layer comprising a flexible polymer and having an embedded inextensible layer that extends along the length of the finger actuator.

Synthesis of Tetracyclines and intermediates thereto
U.S. Patent 9,688,644 (June 27, 2017)

Andrew G. Myers, David A. Kummer, Derun Li, Evan Hecker, Amelie Dion, and Peter M. Wright

Abstract: The tetracycline class of antibiotics has played a major role in the treatment of infectious diseases for the past 50 years. However, the increased use of the tetracyclines in human and veterinary medicine has led to resistance among many organisms previously susceptible to tetracycline antibiotics. The recent development of a modular synthesis of tetracycline analogs through a chiral enone intermediate has allowed for the efficient synthesis of novel tetracycline analogs never prepared before. The present invention provides more efficient routes for preparing the enone intermediate and allows for substituents at positions 4a, 5, 5a, and 12a of the tetracycline ring system.

Elastic hydrogel
U.S. Patent 9,688,741 (June 27, 2017)

Nasim Annabi, Anthony Steven Weiss, and Ali Khademhosseini

Abstract: The present invention relates to hydrogels and to the use of hydrogels for repair or restoration of tissue. In particular, the hydrogels of the present invention can be used for the repair or restoration of cardiac tissue.

Methods of introducing nucleic acids into cellular DNA
U.S. Patent 9,688,994 (June 27, 2017)

Marc J. Lajoie, Christopher J. Gregg, Joshua A. Mosberg, and George M. Church

Abstract: A method of introducing a nucleic acid sequence into a cell is provided where the cell has impaired or inhibited or disrupted DnaG primase activity or impaired or inhibited or disrupted DnaB helicase activity, or larger or increased gaps or distance between Okazaki fragments or lowered or reduced frequency of Okazaki fragment initiation, or the cell has increased single stranded DNA (ssDNA) on the lagging strand of the replication fork including transforming the cell through recombination with a nucleic acid oligomer.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157
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Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157
Email