Through Technologies

New Inventions

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

Phosphine Ligands Made Cheaper, Better

UW–Madison researchers have developed methods for synthesizing novel classes of chiral phosphine ligands via enantioselective copper-catalyzed halogenation. The process is rapid and flexible, and also can be used to streamline the preparation of known phosphines.

The researchers previously described their ‘recycling’ method for use with aromatic compounds. Now, they have rendered the process enantioselective using an asymmetric bidentate phosphine ligand to produce scaffolds with high enantiomeric purity.

In essence, the use of the phosphine ligand helps form a chiral center in a complex product that is otherwise costly or impossible to create.
(Jun 16, 2014) P130268US02

Treating Fungal Infections with New Forazoline Compounds

UW–Madison researchers have developed antifungal compounds isolated from Actinomadura, a bacterium found in a species of sea squirt. After extensive chemical isolation and characterization, the researchers identified a new class of compounds called ‘Forazolines’ that possess antifungal activity. Forazoline A was shown to be effective against Candida albicans in a mouse model.
(Jun 9, 2014) P130274US02

Gene Controls Flowering Time in Corn

The researchers now have found a gene in maize that affects flowering time. By modulating this gene, GRMZM2G171659, the onset of flowering in maize may be delayed or accelerated. Standard vector and transgenic methods can be employed to overexpress or suppress the gene, or introduce it into new crop lines.

The gene was identified by studying more than 500 different maize lines. The researchers mapped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) correlating to early or late flowering traits. A large concentration of such SNPs was located in GRMZM2G171659, a transcription factor on chromosome 3. The gene was of previously unknown function in corn.
(Jun 4, 2014) P130256US02

Environmentally Green Glue

UW–Madison researchers have developed a process to transform soy flour into a strong, environmentally safe wood adhesive.

In the process, a suitable reagent is used to phosphorylate the flour’s lysine amino acid residues. The phosphorylated flour then is mixed with an oxidizing agent that drives the formation of cross-linking bonds. This improves the flour’s adhesive properties. Unwanted salts created in the process can be removed.

Flours of other legumes and/or oil seed crops (e.g., flax, canola) are suitable as well.
(May 30, 2014) P130276US02

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 28, 2014) P140221US01

Genetic Test Predicts Advanced Ovarian Cancer Survival

UW–Madison researchers have identified six genes whose overexpression is linked to poor overall survival from advanced ovarian cancer. The genes (AKT2, KRAS, RAC1, CALM3, RPS6KA2 and YWHAB) are found in the neurotrophin growth factor pathway. Collectively, they can be referred to as ‘NT6.’ This group of genes also is associated with resistance to typical platinum-based chemotherapy.

Using standard genetic testing methodology, patients with overexpressed NT6 genes could be flagged for high risk of recurrence, and alternative (non-platinum-based) treatment plans could be developed.
(Apr 11, 2014) P130193US02

Preparing HMF from Biomass in Polar Aprotic Solvents

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method to prepare HMF from biomass under mild reaction conditions without the presence of water. The reaction can use any polar aprotic solvent (e.g., tetrahydrofuran). Yields are on par with those obtained using ionic liquids.

The reaction requires mild mineral acids and moderate temperatures (about 200 degrees C). In the process, cellulose decomposes to levoglucosan, which is then dehydrated to HMF. Glucose, levulinic acid and formic acid also are produced as a result of side reactions. HMF and the byproducts can be separated from the solvent using conventional methods like distillation and evaporation.
(Mar 28, 2014) P140138US01