May 31, 2017

May 2017 patents

Innovations in cancer treatment, nanoscale sensing, necroptosis inhibitors, detection of dental caries, fabrication of nanopores, and more

Harvard faculty Marc Kirschner, Charles Lieber, Junying Yuan, Joanna Aizenberg, Jene Golovchenko, Shigemi Nagai, Roy Gordon, David Weitz, and George Whitesides are among the inventors issued U.S. patents during May 2017.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Cancer treatment and immune system regulation through FAT10 pathway inhibition
U.S. Patent 9,637,740 (May 2, 2017)

Yifat Merbl and Marc W. Kirschner

Abstract: Described herein are methods of inhibiting mitosis, treating cancer and/or treating immune disorders through the use of agents that inhibit FAT 10 and/or the FAT 10 pathway.

Nanoscale sensors for intracellular and other applications
U.S. Patent 9,638,717 (May 2, 2017)

Charles M. Lieber, Ruixuan Gao, Steffen Strehle, Xiaojie Duan, Bozhi Tian, Itzhaq Cohen-Karni, Ping Xie, and Quan Qing

Abstract: The present invention generally relates to nanoscale wires for use in sensors and other applications. In various embodiments, a probe comprising a nanotube (or other nanoscale wire) is provided that can be directly inserted into a cell to determine a property of the cell, e.g., an electrical property. In some cases, only the tip of the nanoscale wire is inserted into the cell; this tip may be very small relative to the cell, allowing for very precise study. In some aspects, the tip of the probe is held by a holding member positioned on a substrate, e.g., at an angle, which makes it easier for the probe to be inserted into the cell. The nanoscale wire may also be connected to electrodes and/or form part of a transistor, such that a property of the nanoscale wire, and thus of the cell, may be determined. Such probes may also be useful for studying other samples besides cells. Other aspects of the invention are generally directed to methods of making or using such probes, kits involving such probes, devices involving such probes, or the like.

Necroptosis inhibitors and methods of use therefor
U.S. Patent 9,643,977 (May 9, 2017)

Junying Yuan

Abstract: Described herein are compositions that inhibit the production of TNFα downstream of CD40 activation. As such, also described are various methods of using compositions exhibiting this activity for the treatment or prevention of inflammatory diseases associated with TNFα production or CD40 activation.

Self-regulating chemo-mechano-chemical systems
U.S. Patent 9,651,548 (May 16, 2017)

Joanna Aizenberg, Ximin He, and Michael Aizenberg

Abstract: A chemo-mechano-chemical (C1-M-C2) system includes a base supporting an actuatable structure, said structure comprising a functionalized portion and being embedded in an environmentally responsive gel capable of volume change in response to an environmental stimulus; a first fluid layer disposed over the base and in contact with the actuatable structure, said first fluid layer comprising the environmentally responsive gel; and a second fluid layer in contact with the actuatable structure, wherein the layers are positioned such that the functionalized portion is in contact with the second layer in a first relaxed state and in contact with the first layer in a second actuated state and wherein the functionalized portion interacts with at least one of the layers to provide a chemical or physical response.

Fabrication of nanopores in atomically-thin membranes by ultra-short electrical pulsing
U.S. Patent 9,656,293 (May 23, 2017)

Aaron T. Kuan and Jene A. Golovchenko

Abstract: In a method for forming nanopores, two opposing surfaces of a membrane are exposed to an electrically conducting liquid environment. A nanopore nucleation voltage pulse, having a first nucleation pulse amplitude and duration, is applied between the two membrane surfaces, through the liquid environment. After applying the nanopore nucleation voltage pulse, the electrical conductance of the membrane is measured and compared to a first prespecified electrical conductance. Then at least one additional nanopore nucleation voltage pulse is applied between the two membrane surfaces, through the liquid environment, if the measured electrical conductance is no greater than the first prespecified electrical conductance. At least one nanopore diameter tuning voltage pulse, having a tuning pulse voltage amplitude and duration, is applied between the two membrane surfaces, through the liquid environment, if the measured electrical conductance is greater than the first prespecified electrical conductance and no greater than a second prespecified electrical conductance.

Natural IgM antibodies and inhibitors thereof
U.S. Patent 9,657,060 (May 23, 2017)

Michael C. Carroll, Francis D. Moore, and Herbert B. Hechtman

Abstract: The invention provides natural IgM antibody inhibitors that may be used to treat various inflammatory diseases or disorders.

Absorbtion-based detection of spin impurities in solid-state spin systems
U.S. Patent 9,658,301 (May 23, 2017)

Ronald Walsworth

Abstract: Absorption based detection of spin states of spin impurities within a solid-state spin system, such as NV centers in diamond, is implemented by measuring the absorption intensity of an optical signal applied to the spin impurities, i.e. change in intensity of the optical signal after the signal has been transmitted through the solid-state spin system. During optical excitation of the spin impurities, microwave pulses are applied to the sample at a frequency tuned to the ESR frequency. The relative populations of the spin states of the impurities, which provides information regarding variables of interest such as an external magnetic field or a quantum information protocol, is determined from the ratio of the absorption intensity of the optical signal when the microwave pulses are turned on, to the absorption intensity of the optical signal when the microwave pulses turned off.

Methodology of dental caries detection
U.S. Patent 9,662,276 (May 30, 2017)

Shigemi Nagai and Masazumi Nagai

Abstract: Disclosed are methods for detecting demineralization of a surface of a tooth, comprising a) contacting the tooth of a subject with an orally acceptable, binding composition comprising a binding agent that binds to a demineralized surface of the tooth; b) removing unbound binding compound; c) contacting the tooth with an orally acceptable, detector composition comprising a probe compound that reacts with the binding agent to form a visually detectable reaction product; and d) detecting formation of the reaction product as an indication of the presence or extent of surface demineralization of the tooth. Systems, kits, and compositions for practicing the methods are also provided.

Metal amides of cyclic amines
U.S. Patent 9,663,546 (May 30, 2017)

Roy Gerald Gordon

Abstract: Compounds, and oligomers of the compounds, are synthesized with cyclic amine ligands attached to a metal atom. These compounds are useful for the synthesis of materials containing metals. Examples include pure metals, metal alloys, metal oxides, metal nitrides, metal phosphides, metal sulfides, metal selenides, metal tellurides, metal borides, metal carbides, metal silicides and metal germanides. Techniques for materials synthesis include vapor deposition (chemical vapor deposition and atomic layer deposition), liquid solution methods (sol-gel and precipitation) and solid-state pyrolysis. Suitable applications include electrical interconnects in microelectronics and magnetoresistant layers in magnetic information storage devices. The films have very uniform thickness and high step coverage in narrow holes.

Microfluidic device for storage and well-defined arrangement of droplets
U.S. Patent 9,664,619 (May 30, 2017)

Christian Boehm, Amy Rowat, Sarah Koester, Jeremy Agresti, and David A. Weitz

Abstract: The present invention relates to systems and methods for the arrangement of droplets in pre-determined locations. Many applications require the collection of time-resolved data. Examples include the screening of cells based on their growth characteristics or the observation of enzymatic reactions. The present invention provides a tool and related techniques which addresses this need, and which can be used in many other situations. The invention provides, in one aspect, a tool that allows for stable storage and indexing of individual droplets. The invention can interface not only with microfluidic/microscale equipment, but with macroscopic equipment to allow for the easy injection of liquids and extraction of sample droplets, etc.

Lateral flow and flow-through bioassay devices based on patterned porous media, methods of making same, and methods of using same
U.S. Patent 9,664,679 (May 30, 2017)

George M. Whitesides, Scott T. Phillips, Andres W. Martinez, Manish J. Butte, Amy Wong, Samuel W. Thomas, Hayat Sindi, Sarah J. Vella, Emanuel Carrilho, Katherine A. Mirica, and Yanyan Liu

Abstract: Embodiments of the invention provide lateral flow and flow-through bioassay devices based on patterned porous media, methods of making same, and methods of using same. Under one aspect, an assay device includes a porous, hydrophilic medium; a fluid impervious barrier comprising polymerized photoresist, the barrier substantially permeating the thickness of the porous, hydrophilic medium and defining a boundary of an assay region within the porous, hydrophilic medium; and an assay reagent in the assay region.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157