Through Technologies

New Inventions

Generic Drug to Treat and Prevent Macular Degenerative Diseases

UW–Madison researchers have identified a new treatment option for a number of macular degenerative diseases including AMD, Stargardt’s disease and juvenile macular dystrophy.

The researchers found that a class of compounds called acid sphingomyelinase inhibitors can be used to fight retinal disorders associated with abnormal accumulations of lipofuscin (a cellular waste product), cholesterol or increased inflammation. One such inhibitor, generic name desipramine, is currently sold on the market as an antidepressant. Other acid sphingomyelinase inhibitors also may be suitable.
(Jun 22, 2015) P140282US02

Treating Absence Epilepsy with Ganaxolone

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method for treating absence epilepsy with the drug ganaxolone, a synthetic neurosteroid analog that modulates GABAA receptors. The drug has shown promise for treating other forms of epilepsy but has not been recommended for absence epilepsy until now.

The researchers have found that in low doses the drug provides an optimal amount of tonic inhibition that restores function and reduces symptoms in a mouse model. The drug may be particularly useful for treating young patients whose condition is characterized by a reduction in tonic inhibition.
(May 21, 2015) P140051US02

Combination Therapy Kills Cancer Cells

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new cancer treatment that combines a TRAIL receptor agonist with the diabetes drug metformin. Metformin sensitizes even resistant cancer cells to the TRAIL receptor agonists (e.g., lexatumumab) that induce cell death.

Metformin is attractive because its safety has been established over decades in diabetic patients worldwide. As such, there seem to be few barriers to its clinical implementation as a cancer therapeutic in combination with TRAIL receptor agonists. Metformin is commercially available as Glucophage® or in generic form.
(Apr 21, 2015) P140221US02

New System for Producing Fungal Secondary Metabolites

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new system for producing fungal secondary metabolites using test plasmids and a genetically modified strain of Aspergillus nidulans (TPMW2.3). The strain begins producing secondary metabolites when a gene promoter in the plasmid is triggered by culture conditions. This allows researchers to induce or repress production.
(Feb 16, 2015) P150029US01

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 Protein Production Strategy for Plants

UW–Madison researchers have identified a new plant viral IRES that can facilitate the efficient expression of multiple proteins from a single mRNA. The researchers discovered the new IRES in the Triticum mosaic virus (TriMV), a wheat virus that expresses 10 proteins from a single mRNA strand.
(Jan 9, 2015) P140069US02

Solar Cells Turn HMF to Valuable Platform Molecules

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new method using solar cells to electrochemically oxidize HMF to highly prized furan compounds, specifically FDCA (2,5-furandicarboxylic acid) and DFF (2,5-diformylfuran). These important compounds are used to produce polymer materials, pharmaceuticals, antifungal agents, organic conductors and much more.

The reaction takes place at ambient temperature and pressure using a TEMPO mediator. Unlike previous methods, the process does not require a precious metal catalyst.
(Jan 8, 2015) P150132US01

High Yield Method to Produce LGO from Biomass

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new method to produce LGO from cellulosic biomass under mild reaction conditions. The biomass material is reacted in a mixture comprising a polar aprotic solvent (e.g., tetrahydrofuran or THF) and an acid in the absence of water. The LGO can be separated out by routine downstream processes such as distillation and evaporation.

Glucose, levoglucosan, furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural also are produced in small quantities.
(Dec 31, 2014) P150101US01

Qubit Measurement System Is Efficient, Scalable

UW–Madison researchers have developed a novel qubit measurement system based on counting microwave photons. The new system replaces currently used amplification and heterodyne detection techniques.

The measurement proceeds in three stages. First, the state of the qubit is mapped to the microwave photon occupation of a readout cavity. The occupation of the cavity is subsequently detected using the Josephson photomultiplier (JPM), a microwave-frequency photon counter. The measurement leads to a binary digital output: ‘click’ or ‘no click.’ The output may be transmitted to a single flux quantum (SFQ) circuit for classical processing.

SFQ circuits, like qubit circuits, are based on superconducting thin films. Therefore, the SFQ processor could be operated on the same cryogenic stage as the quantum circuit to make the system more compact and to reduce measurement latency. Other methods rely on wiring and electrical connections to take measurements and feed them to a room-temperature device for processing, resulting in losses and inefficiencies.
(Dec 29, 2014) P140246US01

Hydrogel Arrays for Screening Cell-Substrate Interactions, Now in Multiwell Format

Building on their previous work, the researchers have now adapted their method to any commercially available, glass or polystyrene-bottom multiwell plate. In the new process, hydrogel is covalently immobilized to the bottom of each well and then selectively polymerized. In this way the spots are completely isolatable, allowing for systemic and independent control of their chemical composition and XYZ physical dimensions.

Once the hydrogel array is formed, each of the spots can be exposed to different soluble factors without risk of diffusion.
(Dec 18, 2014) P140305US01