A Medical Device Daily

ISTO Technologies (St. Louis), a private orthobiologics company, reported that the U.S. Patent and Trade Office granted it a patent protecting its core technology for cell-based cartilage repair. The patent is titled: “Method for Chondrocyte Expansion with Phenotype Retention.”

ISTO develops products for cartilage regeneration and repair in knee joints and spinal discs using its cartilage cell expansion technology. Cartilage cells (chondrocytes) normally lose their native phenotype after serial expansion in vitro and can no longer produce functional cartilage tissue.

To circumvent this problem, ISTO scientists have developed a process for growing chondrocytes without the loss of phenotype, thereby providing a commercially viable number of cartilage cells for clinical applications, the company said.

“This is a significant patent for the company. Our cell expansion technology serves as a platform for developing products for wide ranging medical needs,” said Mitchell Seyedin, PhD, president/CEO of ISTO.

According to the company, cartilage regeneration is often called the “Holy Grail” of the orthopedic industry because of its potential to restore function to damaged joints that otherwise have limited healing potential. Cartilage serves as a “shock absorber” protecting all joints including spinal discs from the wear and tear experienced during motion.

Two of the most common causes of disability in adults, osteoarthritis and degenerative discs, are joint diseases affecting cartilage of the joints and spinal discs, respectively.

In other patent news:

Nanogen (San Diego), a diagnostic products developer, said it has been granted U.S. Patent No. 7,252,940, titled “Abasic site endonuclease assay.”

Nanogen said the technology described in the patent extends the underlying real-time PCR technology used in its MGB Alert products to a new product offering that has been commercialized as research reagents for use in replication validation following genome wide scanning in pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry labs. This technology is also ideal for genetic analysis in multiplex formats of complex genetic diseases, the company said.

The construct of these assay reagents provides researchers with a method for high throughput validation of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) discovered during genome wide scanning, Nanogen said.

The goal of many genome wide scanning projects is to identify SNPs associated with particular diseases, such as diabetes or heart failure, in order to identify therapeutic targets or develop diagnostic assays. In order to establish clear disease association, SNPs are validated across large sample populations, often on the order of tens of thousands. This technology provides the ability to test large numbers of SNPs in parallel across a large number of samples to complete validation in a relatively rapid manner, the company said.

Nanogen also reported being awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,205,105, “Real-time linear detection probes: sensitive 5’-minor groove binder-containing probes for PCR analysis,” related to the probes employed in its MGB Alert line of reagents.

The company said these probes are an important part of its product offering designed to assist clinical laboratories in developing molecular diagnostic tests that will detect genetic sequences associated with pathogens including those often tested in immunocompromised patients such as cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, and enterovirus.

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