Skip to main content
February 07, 2018

January 2018 patents

Innovations in the detection of chiral molecules, treatment of lipodystrophy, encapsulation methods, separation of biological analytes, early detection of breast cancer, and more

Harvard faculty Don Ingber, John Doyle, Dyann Wirth, George Whitesides, Kit Parker, Ulrich Von Andrian, David Sinclair, David Weitz, Priscilla Yang, Gokhan Hotamisligil, and Marko Loncar are among the inventors issued U.S. patents in January 2018.

The innovations recognized are as follows:

Microfluidic cartridge assembly
U.S. Patent 9,855,554 (January 2, 2018)

Donald E. Ingber, Daniel Levner, Guy Thompson II, and Christopher David Hinojosa

Abstract: According to aspects of the present invention, a cartridge assembly for transporting fluid into or out of one or more fluidic devices includes a first layer and a second layer. The first layer includes a first surface. The first surface includes at least one partial channel disposed thereon. The second layer abuts the first surface, thereby forming a channel from the at least one partial channel. At least one of the first layer and the second layer is a resilient layer formed from a pliable material. At least one of the first layer and the second layer includes a via hole. The via hole is aligned with the channel to pass fluid thereto. The via hole is configured to pass fluid through the first layer or the second layer substantially perpendicularly to the channel. Embossments are also used to define aspects of a fluidic channel.

Fourier transform microwave spectroscopy for enantiomer-specific detection of chiral molecules
U.S. Patent 9,857,315 (January 2, 2018)

David S. Patterson and John M. Doyle

Abstract: A spectrometer includes: (1) a housing defining a volume into which an analyte gas is introduced, the analyte gas including a chiral component; (2) a microwave generator coupled to the housing and configured to apply a microwave pulse to the analyte gas, the microwave pulse being polarized along a first direction; (3) an electric field generator coupled to the housing and configured to apply a switched electric field to the analyte gas, the electric field being oriented along a second direction different from the first direction; (4) a phase-sensitive microwave detector coupled to the housing and configured to detect an induced microwave emitted by the analyte gas, the induced microwave being polarized along a third direction different from the first direction and the second direction; and (5) an analyzer coupled to the phase-sensitive microwave detector and configured to detect an enantiomer of the chiral component based on a phase of the induced microwave.

Kit for density-based separation of biological analytes using multiphase systems
U.S. Patent 9,857,353 (January 2, 2018)

Charles R. Mace, Ashok A. Kumar, Dyann F. Wirth, and George M. Whitesides

Abstract: A kit for separating a sample comprising one or more biological analytes of interest using a multi-phase system comprising: a) two or more phase components selected from the group consisting of a polymer, a surfactant, and combinations thereof; b) optionally a tag molecule capable of binding the one or more biological analytes of interest; and c) instructions for: (i) combining the two or more phase-separated solutions with a common solvent to create a multi-phase system; (ii) optionally, combining the biological analyte of interest and tag molecule, and (iii) separating the biological analyte of interest from the sample.

Muscle chips and methods of use thereof
U.S. Patent 9,857,356 (January 2, 2018)

Kevin Kit Parker, Josue Adrian Goss, Anna Grosberg, Patrick W. Alford, Adam W. Feinberg, Ashutosh Agarwal, Megan Laura McCain, and Johan Ulrik Lind

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

Biomarkers for the early detection of breast cancer
U.S. Patent 9,857,374 (January 2, 2018)

Joshua LaBaer, Karen Sue Anderson, Garrick Wallstrom, Sahar Sibani, and Niroshan Ramachandran

Abstract: The present invention provides reagents and methods for breast cancer detection.

Systems and methods for multi-task Bayesian optimization
U.S. Patent 9,858,529 (January 2, 2018)

Ryan P. Adams, Roland Jasper Snoek, and Kevin Swersky

Abstract: Techniques for use in connection with performing optimization using a plurality of objective functions associated with a respective plurality of tasks. The techniques include using at least one computer hardware processor to perform: identifying, based at least in part on a joint probabilistic model of the plurality of objective functions, a first point at which to evaluate an objective function in the plurality of objective functions; selecting, based at least in part on the joint probabilistic model, a first objective function in the plurality of objective functions to evaluate at the identified first point; evaluating the first objective function at the identified first point; and updating the joint probabilistic model based on results of the evaluation to obtain an updated joint probabilistic model.

Systems and methods for Bayesian optimization using integrated acquisition functions
U.S. Patent 9,864,953 (January 9, 2018)

Ryan P. Adams, Roland Jasper Snoek, and Hugo Larochelle

Abstract: Techniques for use in connection with performing optimization using an objective function. The techniques include using at least one computer hardware processor to perform: identifying, using an integrated acquisition utility function and a probabilistic model of the objective function, at least a first point at which to evaluate the objective function; evaluating the objective function at least at the identified first point; and updating the probabilistic model of the objective function using results of the evaluating to obtain an updated probabilistic model of the objective function.

Modulation of NK cell antigen specific effector activity by modulation of CXCR6 (CD186)
U.S. Patent 9,872,905 (January 23, 2018)

Ulrich Von Andrian and Silke Paust

Abstract: The instant invention is based, at least in part, on the discovery that CXCR6 plays a critical role in antigen-specific effector function of NK cells. Accordingly, the invention provides, among other things, methods for modulation of antigen-specific NK cell effector function, methods for identifying modulators of antigen-specific NK cell effector function.

NAD biosynthesis and precursors for the treatment and prevention of cancer and proliferation
U.S. Patent 9,877,981 (January 30, 2018)

David A. Sinclair, Ana P. Gomes, and Lindsay Wu

Abstract: Disclosed herein are novel compositions and methods for the treatment of age-related diseases, mitochondrial diseases, the improvement of stress resistance, the improvement of resistance to hypoxia and the extension of life span. Also described herein are methods for the identification of agents useful in the foregoing methods. Methods and compositions are provided for the treatment of diseases or disorders associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. The invention relates to methods for treatment and prevention of cancer by administering agents that increase levels of NAD+, such as NAD+ precursors or agents involved in NAD+ biosynthesis.

Methods for encapsulation of actives within droplets and other compartments
U.S. Patent 9,878,299 (January 30, 2018)

John Christopher Wesner, Marco Caggioni, Taotao Zhu, David A. Weitz, Alireza Abbaspourrad, and Chang-Hyung Choi

Abstract: The present invention generally relates to microparticles and, in particular, to systems and methods for encapsulation within microparticles. In one aspect, the present invention is generally directed to microparticles containing entities therein, where the entities contain an agent that can be released from the microparticles, e.g., via diffusion. In some cases, the agent may be released from the microparticles without disruption of the microparticles. The entities may be, for instance, polymeric particles, hydrogel particles, droplets of fluid, etc. The entities may be contained within a fluid that is, in turn, encapsulated within the microparticle. The agent may be released from the entity into the fluid, and then from the fluid through the microparticle. In such fashion, the release of agent from the microparticle may be controlled, e.g., over relatively long time scales. Other embodiments of the present invention are generally directed to methods of making such microparticles, methods of using such microparticles, microfluidic devices for making such microparticles, and the like.

Electronic control of fluidic species
U.S. Patent 9,878,325 (January 30, 2018)

David A. Weitz, Darren Roy Link, Galder Cristobal-Azkarate, Zhengdong Cheng, and Keunho Ahn

Abstract: Various aspects of the present invention relate to the control and manipulation of fluidic species, for example, in microfluidic systems. In one aspect, the invention relates to systems and methods for making droplets of fluid surrounded by a liquid, using, for example, electric fields, mechanical alterations, the addition of an intervening fluid, etc. In some cases, the droplets may each have a substantially uniform number of entities therein. For example, 95% or more of the droplets may each contain the same number of entities of a particular species. In another aspect, the invention relates to systems and methods for dividing a fluidic droplet into two droplets, for example, through charge and/or dipole interactions with an electric field. The invention also relates to systems and methods for fusing droplets according to another aspect of the invention, for example, through charge and/or dipole interactions. In some cases, the fusion of the droplets may initiate or determine a reaction. In a related aspect of the invention, systems and methods for allowing fluid mixing within droplets to occur are also provided. In still another aspect, the invention relates to systems and methods for sorting droplets, e.g., by causing droplets to move to certain regions within a fluidic system. Examples include using electrical interactions (e.g., charges, dipoles, etc.) or mechanical systems (e.g., fluid displacement) to sort the droplets. In some cases, the fluidic droplets can be sorted at relatively high rates, e.g., at about 10 droplets per second or more. Another aspect of the invention provides the ability to determine droplets, or a component thereof, for example, using fluorescence and/or other optical techniques (e.g., microscopy), or electric sensing techniques such as dielectric sensing.

Acoustophoretic printing apparatus and method
U.S. Patent 9,878,536 (January 30, 2018)

Daniele Foresti, Dimos Poulikakos, and Manish Kumar Tiwari

Abstract: The present invention contains a printing apparatus and a method, e.g., for ejecting inks (i.e. pure liquids, mixtures, colloids, etc.) for a very broad range of physical properties (such as viscosity). Acoustic forces 3a may be generated by an emitter 1 and a reflector 2 to detach droplets 10 from a nozzle 6. The ink may be advanced through the nozzle 6 by a standard back pressure system 5. A reflectorless chamber 7 may enhance acoustic forces 8a and the droplets 10 may be ejected at a bottom 9 of said chamber 7, so that droplets 10 may be deposited on any substrate 11.

Host targeted inhibitors of dengue virus and other viruses
U.S. Patent 9,879,003 (January 30, 2018)

Nathanael Gray, Priscilla Yang, Qingsong Liu, and Melissanne Wispelaere

Abstract: Novel antiviral compounds of Formulae (I)-(III) are provided: (I) (II) (III) The inventive compounds, pharmaceutical compositions thereof, and kits including the inventive compounds are useful for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases caused by viruses, for example, by Flaviviridae virus (e.g., Dengue virus (DENY)), Kunjin virus, Japanese encephalitis virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), poliovirus, Junin virus, Ebola virus, Marburg virus (MARV), Lassa fever virus (LASV), Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus (VEEV), or Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV).

Method of treating lipodystrophy in HIV-infected humans
U.S. Patent 9,879,078 (January 30, 2018)

Gokhan S. Hotamisligil and Haiming Cao

Abstract: A method of reducing a symptom of a clinical disorder characterized by aberrantly elevated circulating aP2 is carried out by administering to a subject an inhibitor of secreted aP2, secretion of aP2, or a serum aP2 blocking agent. For example, glucose intolerance is reduced following administration of such an inhibitor or agent. Exemplary compositions inhibit cellular secretion of aP2 or bind to circulating aP2, thereby reducing the level or activity of aP2 in blood or serum.

Apparatus for coupling to high-index micro-resonators with tapered optical fibers
U.S. Patent 9,880,356 (January 30, 2018)

Pawel M. Latawiec and Marko Loncar

Abstract: Tapered waveguides made of high-index material attached to a tapered optical fiber are provided, enabling access to the optical modes of large, high-index resonators. In some embodiments, an optical fiber having a central axis, a tapered portion, and an untapered portion is provided. The tapered portion is configured to expose an evanescent field. An elongated waveguide is optically coupled to the optical fiber along the tapered portion and parallel to the central axis of the optical fiber. The elongated waveguide has a substantially triangular cross section perpendicular to the central axis of the optical fiber.

Press Contact

Caroline Perry, (617) 495-4157
Email

Press Contact

Caroline Perry
(617) 495-4157
Email