New Patents

Biologically Active Sutures Enhance Tissue Healing Following Surgical Procedures

UW-Madison researchers have developed a method of coating the surface of commonly used suture materials and other orthopedic devices with a biodegradable layer containing molecules that can induce tissue growth and limit bacterial infection.  The rate at which the coating degrades can be modified to control the release of the molecules. 

Specifically, a suture is coated with a mineral layer under physiological temperature and pH, resulting in a nano-porous structure with high surface area for protein binding.  Then biologically active molecules are bound to the surface of the suture for subsequent release in vivo.  Protein binding can be achieved rapidly in the operating room, and the process can be adapted to enable the incorporation of a wide range of other therapeutic molecules, in addition to proteins.
(May 2, 2017) P09201US

Breast Imaging Training and Testing Simulator

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a simulator that helps radiology residents-in-training learn to interpret breast images (mammographic, ultrasound, etc.), assess their knowledge and compare their performance to experts.

The system is preloaded with medical histories and images from known clinical cases. The trainee is asked to recommend recall instructions. His/her responses are tested against the answers of an expert clinician and pathologic correlation. The program reports any divergence between the two.

The program uses actual clinical data and is designed to provide realistic yet demanding simulation. In addition to recall instructions, a trainee may be asked to complete other tasks, such as locating a suspicious lump or predicting whether a biopsy will be required.
(May 2, 2017) P130350US01

Zinc Oxide Nanowires for Photovoltaics and More

UW–Madison researchers have developed a process for synthesizing chloride- or fluoride-doped ZnO nanowires. The process involves growing nanowires from seed crystals in an aqueous solution. They can be grown on a wide variety of substrates including non-electrically conductive substrates, flexible plastic substrates and fibrous substrates.
(May 2, 2017) P130385US01

New Hardware Helps Cell Phones, Tablets Save Power

UW–Madison researchers have developed a more energy-efficient multiplier circuit for portable electronics. The circuit performs ‘dynamic truncation,’ reducing the size of operands to capture their most important bits. This allows multiplication to be performed using a much smaller multiplier, significantly reducing energy consumption.

Dynamic truncation works by preserving computationally important bits and providing approximations that are satisfactory for most applications.
(May 2, 2017) P140276US01

Phased-Array Antenna Concept Reduces Cost, Improves Power Handling

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new concept for designing low-complexity, low-cost phased-array antennas. The design consists of a collimating surface, a feed antenna and a macro electromechanical system (MaEMS) used to dynamically change the properties of the collimating surface. This surface can act in the transmitting mode (a lens) or in the reflecting mode (a reflectarray).

The researchers have explored several MaEMS tuning mechanisms to dynamically change the phase shift gradient and control the direction of the main beam of the antenna. Very small mechanical movements help achieve this tenability and the entire process can be performed extremely rapidly. Most existing solutions try to tune the capacitors.
(May 2, 2017) P150090US01

Highly Foamed Plastic Parts Are Stronger and Cheaper to Produce

UW–Madison researchers have developed a new method of fabricating highly foamed, injection-molded plastic parts. Firstly, a thermoplastic material like LDPE is heated along with supercritical nitrogen or carbon dioxide to produce a gas-polymer solution in an extruder, and then the melt is extruded and quenched into gas-laden pellets. These pellets are plasticized in an injection molding machine, and then injected into a mold to produce lightweight parts with fine foamed structure and/or improved part surface.

Compared with the conventional method, this method requires much lower equipment cost and process complexity, no modification to the injection molding machines is needed, and all the same benefits that the conventional method offers can be achieved.
(Apr 25, 2017) P130051US01

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.
(Apr 25, 2017) P140051US02

Blood-Brain Barrier Targeting Antibodies to Improve Drug Delivery

UW–Madison researchers have identified a pair of single-chain antibody fragments (scFv15 and scFv38) that may help drugs cross the BBB. The two promising new antibodies are capable of binding antigens expressed at the BBB in vivo.

The researchers panned a human scFv library to identify candidates that specifically bind to brain endothelial cell receptors and may pass through the BBB. Drugs or drug carriers could be attached to these fragments and then transported into the brain.
(Apr 25, 2017) P140126US02

Method for Error-Compensated Chemical Species Signal Separation with Magnetic Resonance Imaging

A UW–Madison researcher has developed a method for separating the relative signal contributions of multiple chemical species in which echo signal information containing errors is discarded during signal separation. The method enables production of an image with an MRI system in which relative signal contributions from the chemical species are separated while accounting for errors. It requires using multiple echo signals acquired at different times to form signal models that account for relative signal components for each chemical species. Then, each echo signal that contains errors is identified and discarded from the relative signal components for each chemical species. Finally, an image is produced using the reliable data from the relative signal components of the chemical species.
(Apr 18, 2017) P110134US01

Identifying Related Peak Sets to Boost Mass Spectrometry Throughput

UW–Madison researchers have developed an algorithm for identifying related peak sets from MS1 spectra data.

First, an intensity peak is selected from the MS1 data and its peak location is identified. Based on intensity values associated with all potentially related peak locations, an intensity score is calculated. This score determines whether or not the peak locations form a related set. Related peaks may optionally be selected for MS2 processing.
(Apr 18, 2017) P120336US01