New Patents

Compound to Protect Against Radiation Exposure

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a new family of aminothiol molecules that could prevent tumor formation or DNA damage due to radiation exposure. The well-studied prototype molecule is called PrC-210. It has been demonstrated to suppress CT scan X-ray-induced DNA damage in human blood cells to background. This would likely also suppress cancers resulting from diagnostic radiation to background. Importantly, the new drug lacks both of the severe side effects (nausea/emesis and hypotension/fainting) that preclude the use of amifostine.

The new molecules’ radioprotective properties arise from the combination of a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-scavenging thiol group and a positively charged alkyl-amine backbone that allows the molecule to “hover” around the negatively-charged DNA backbone in cells where the thiol can then capture ROS before they attack DNA.

A decade of research, multiple peer-reviewed publications, both issued and pending patent claims, and more than $2.5 million in research support has gone into PrC-210 development to date.
(Oct 4, 2016) P120378US03

Vitamin D Compounds for the Treatment of Ocular Hypertension

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method of treating OHT by administering a vitamin D analog.  The vitamin D compound can be applied topically to one or both of an individual’s eyes to reduce IOP.
(Sep 27, 2016) P06288US

Long-Lasting, Non-Narcotic Protein for Treatment of Acute or Chronic Pain

UW–Madison researchers have developed a chimeric protein that may be used to treat acute or chronic pain. The protein consists of a peptide ligand that specifically targets neurons involved in pain processing and a botulinum toxin light chain protein that blocks the release of neurotransmitters that cause pain. The therapeutic could be delivered through the spine to result in long-lasting, stable and reversible regulation of pain.
(Sep 20, 2016) P130093US02

Transgenic Lignin Easier to Break Down for Biofuel

UW–Madison researchers and others have developed methods to genetically alter the structure of plant lignin to be less resistant to chemical (mostly alkaline) degradation.

They have identified and isolated nucleic acids from the Angelica sinensis plant that encode feruloyl-CoA:monolignol transferase. This enzyme produces lignin rich in CAFA and similar chemicals, and thus contains ester bonds that cleave under relatively mild conditions.

Plant cells can be modified to contain the enzyme gene sequence using standard genetic techniques. Whole plants (and their seeds) then can be generated from these cells.
(Sep 13, 2016) P100281US02

Crosslinkable Gemini Dicarboxylate Surfactant LLCs and Their Membranes

UW–Madison researchers have built on their previous work to efficiently synthesize crosslinkable Gemini surfactants that adopt bicontinuous cubic phases, including the gyroid phase. By incorporation of a photoinitiator into the hydrophobic domains of the LLC, the assembly can be crosslinked with retention of the gyroid structure.
(Sep 13, 2016) P120048US02

Powering Devices with Piezoelectric ‘Sponge’

UW–Madison researchers have developed a thin piezoelectric film that converts ambient vibrations into electrical energy and can be directly integrated onto the surface of a device.

The film is made by dispersing metal oxide or other nanoparticles into a solution of a piezoelectrically active polymer like PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride). The solution is allowed to dry into a sponge-like layer. The nanoparticles then are etched away or otherwise removed. This leaves a finely porous matrix that can be sandwiched between electrodes to create a nanogenerator.
(Sep 13, 2016) P130228US01

Monitoring Tumor Ablation in Real Time

UW–Madison researchers have developed a method that uses radiofrequency signals transmitted from a microwave ablation probe to monitor the boundaries between a tumor, ablation zone and background healthy tissue.

The probe emits and then detects the signals as they echo off the different tissue boundaries. Since the boundary between a tumor and background tissue becomes less distinct as the ablation progresses, clinicians can determine when treatment is complete based on these echoes.
(Sep 13, 2016) P130294US01

New Broad-Spectrum Antibiotics

A UW–Madison researcher and collaborators have identified an antibiotic compound effective against many drug-resistant, Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria. The compound (5-nonyloxytryptamine) and its analogs are small molecule inhibitors that interfere with the bacterial membrane and prevent replication.

The compound has been reported as an anticancer drug but was not previously shown to have antimicrobial properties. It was identified by searching for compounds that cause E. coli bacteria to lack a copy of the chromosome following cell division.
(Sep 13, 2016) P140321US02

Bringing Quantum Computers Closer to Reality by Solving Decoherence Problem

UW–Madison researchers have developed a system and method for reducing noise from magnetically active surface defects, a dominant contributor to decoherence in superconducting quantum circuits.

The researchers found that adsorbed molecular oxygen represents a major source of magnetic noise. As a result, they have developed approaches to hermetically package qubit samples in an improved vacuum environment. The developed hermetic sample enclosure prevents the adsorption of a high density of magnetically active defects on the surface of the device during cooldown. The surfaces of encapsulated devices show greatly reduced levels of magnetic activity and low-frequency magnetic flux noise.

Other tactics for reducing noise may be employed as well, such as passivating the device surface with a high density of non-magnetic adsorbates, coating the circuits with a protective non-magnetic layer or irradiating the device with ultraviolet light to drive off magnetically active adsorbates.
(Sep 6, 2016) P150095US01

Easy-to-Assess Image Registration

A UW–Madison researcher and others have developed a program that allows specific correlated points to be clearly displayed on two different medical images. This helps visualize landmarks and flag any errors in the mapping process.

Specifically, a computer is programmed to receive the two different images, register them and display them side-by-side. The user identifies a feature in one of the images. The location of this feature in the second image according to the registration is then determined using the transformation matrix or DVF, and highlighted for the user. Disparities, such as differences in pixel value, also may be displayed. This makes any misalignment visually apparent and provides an efficient method of validating image registration accuracy.
(Aug 30, 2016) P110163US02