Through Technologies

New Inventions

Peptide Mimics Last Longer, Target Protein-Protein Interactions

UW–Madison researchers have developed modified Z-domain peptides that last longer in vivo while retaining strong binding properties. The researchers removed one of the helices and stabilized the remaining two with a disulfide bond. They substituted some residues with alpha and beta amino acid residues; the latter helps resist degradation by proteolytic enzymes.

The α/β-peptide mimics (or foldamers) can be tailored to target a variety of different proteins and protein-protein interactions. Given their small size (39 amino acids) relative to full-length Z-domains (59 amino acids), the new peptide mimics are easier to synthesize and modify.
(Jan 22, 2015) P140148US02

New Amphiphiles for Manipulating Membrane Proteins

UW–Madison researchers have developed improved amphiphiles for solubilizing, isolating and characterizing membrane proteins. They can be prepared from cholic acid, deoxycholic acid and lithocholic acid, which are steroids found in bile.

The new amphiphiles, called CAO, DCAO and LCAO, are effective in challenging biochemical systems, such as extraction of delicate photosynthetic superassemblies from native lipid bilayers.
(Dec 1, 2014) P09028US02

Superabsorbent, Sustainable Aerogels

UW–Madison researchers have developed organic aerogels with excellent absorbent properties. They are made by combining a water soluble polymer and cellulose nanocrystals/nanofibers (CNFs) derived from biomass. The polymer, such as PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), is cross-linked to form a gel and then water is removed by freeze-drying. The surface of the aerogel is coated with an organosilane, making it highly water repellent and superoleophilic (‘oil loving’).
(Oct 24, 2014) P140038US02

Hydrogel Arrays for Screening Cell-Substrate Interactions

UW–Madison researchers developed a new method for forming patterned hydrogel arrays featuring any number of test spots possessing different characteristics, such as shape and chemical composition. The arrays can be used to culture a range of cell types and rapidly analyze their behavior (e.g., attachment, spreading, proliferation and differentiation).

The arrays are prepared using a hydrogel precursor solution containing a polymer and crosslinker. The solution is sandwiched between stenciled SAM layers containing hydrophilic (‘water-loving’) and hydrophobic (‘water-hating’) regions, then polymerized and released.

As a result of the process, the array features hydrophilic spots surrounded and isolated by hydrophobic regions, preventing any mixing of contents. The spots can have any desired shape, size and chemical composition.
(Jul 24, 2014) P140097US01

Predicting Male Fertility in Cattle

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a method for predicting whether a sperm sample will have high or low fertility based on average sperm head brightness. Generally, samples that exhibit brighter DNA staining have lower fertility.

In the process, a fresh or frozen sample is stained with DNA-binding fluorescent dye and imaged with a microscope. The brightness of the sperm head is averaged and compared with samples of known fertility.
(Jul 22, 2014) P130280US02

Thermogel for Combination Drug Delivery

UW–Madison researchers have developed hydrogels for delivering drug combinations to cancer patients. The gel is made of a solution of heat-sensitive, biodegradable block copolymers (PLGA-PEG-PLGA) that turn semisolid at body temperature.

The gel can contain a combination of therapeutic agents like rapamycin, paclitaxel and 17-AAG. After being administered to a patient, the gel releases the drugs at a controlled rate, and then biodegrades into nontoxic fragments.
(Jul 22, 2014) P130338US03

Treating and Preventing Restenosis with Leukemia Drug

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new approach to treat and prevent restenosis using a drug originally designed to fight leukemia. The researchers discovered that the generic drug idarubicin inhibited the proliferation of smooth muscle cells while having no negative impact on endothelial healing.

Drug-eluting stents and other medical devices containing idarubicin (or an analog) could be administered prior to or following a vascular procedure like angioplasty.
(Jul 2, 2014) P130091US02

Kit Predicts Twinning in Cattle

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a genetic test to determine the likelihood a cow or a bull’s female progeny will produce twin offspring. The test is based on the presence or absence of the ‘trio’ haplotype, which is a set of three genetic markers on bovine chromosome 10 (BTA10). In combination, these markers suggest a cow or bull has a higher propensity for twinning.
(Jul 1, 2014) P130303US02

Inhibiting Metadherin/SND1 Interaction to Treat Cancer

UW–Madison researchers and collaborators have developed a method to fight tumor growth and metastasis using novel peptides that inhibit interaction between MTDH and a protein called SND1.

The researchers found that MTDH-SND1 protein interaction is important for the expansion and function of prostate tumors as well as luminal and basal breast tumor initiating cells. Their work provides novel peptides that target this protein complex to help control tumor initiation, recurrence and metastasis by combating tumor initiating cells, with minimal impact on normal tissues.
(Jun 25, 2014) P140424US01

Non-Natural Peptides for Treating Diabetes

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new approach for designing GLP-1 receptor agonists that could be used to treat diabetes. The agonists retain GLP-1-like function but have prolonged activity in vivo.

The method includes strategically replacing native α-amino acid residues with conformationally constrained β-amino acid resides. The new α/β peptides mimic GLP-1 in terms of interacting with pancreatic beta cells and regulating blood glucose levels. The peptides are less susceptible to enzyme degradation due in part to the multiple β residue replacements.
(Jun 23, 2014) P130310US02