Recent Patents on Biotechnology (v.5, #1)

Recent Patents on the Baculovirus Systems by Shih-Yeh Lin, Guan-Yu Chen, Yu-Chen Hu (1-11).
Baculovirus has been widely utilized as a protein production tool in insect cells for nearly 3 decades and hascaptured growing interests as a vector for gene delivery into mammalian cells and animals over the past decade. This reviewsummarizes important patents pertaining to the use of baculovirus for insect cell infection and mammalian celltransduction, with special emphasis on the vector development, new applications and downstream processing.

Robotic Assisted Surgery in Gynecology: Current Insights and Future Perspectives by Andrea Tinelli, Antonio Malvasi, Sarah Gustapane, Maurizio Buscarini, Maurizio Buscarini, Indy S. Gill, Michael Stark, Farr R. Nezhat, Liselotte Mettler (12-24).
To focus on the recent adoption, patents, experience, and future of Robotic assisted surgery (RAS) applicationsin gynecologic surgery, a computer aided and manual search for clinical and systematic reviews, randomized controlledtrials, prospective observational studies, retrospective studies and case reports published between 1970 and January of2011 has been performed. The use of RAS in gynecologic patients includes hysterectomy, myomectomy, tubal reanastomoses,radical hysterectomy, lymph node dissection, and sacrocolpopexies. Although individual studies vary, gynecologicalRAS is often associated with longer operating room time but similar clinical outcomes, decreased blood loss, andshorter hospital stay. RAS procedures on women have, however, their own limitations: the patented equipment is verylarge, bulky, and expensive, the staff must be trained specifically on draping and docking the instruments, the lack of surgicalhaptic feedback, a limited vaginal access, a limited specific instrumentation, and the need for larger port incisionsrequiring fascial closure. The RAS significantly facilitates gynecologic surgery, even if well-designed, prospective studiesare needed to fully assess the value of this equipments in particular studies with well-defined clinical and long-term outcomes,including complications, cost, pain, return to normal activity, and quality of life. The future of robotic surgery ingynecology may be bright, but currently, caution is advisable and clinically meaningful long-term outcomes are needed.These recent patents, however, has exciting potential for future applications, especially in long-distance telesurgery andmight change the paradigm of gynecologic surgery in the future.

Insights into Phytoremediation Solutions for Environmental Recovery by Kalina A. Samardjieva, Jose Pissarra, Paula M.L.Castro, Fernando Tavares (25-39).
Our environment is contaminated with organic and inorganic compounds released by anthropogenic activitiesthat cause negative impacts on biological productivity and ecosystem sustainability and place human health at risk. Withinthe available remediation technologies, phytoremediation has emerged with high potential due to its reduced environmentalimpacts and economic costs. The research into phytoremediation has developed through a wide array of approaches,which also pertains to its inherent interdisciplinary characteristics, towards enhancing the potential of the technologyfor application in the field. Numerous patents present molecular solutions through which plants can be engineeredto display improvements in key characteristics, such as the tolerance, uptake and accumulation of contaminants. The manipulationof plant growth and of the physico-chemical characteristics of the contaminated environments in order to enhancethe remediation potential has also been the focus of several issued patents. This review attempts to highlight themost relevant patented advances in phytoremediation and to emphasise recent research efforts through which this greentechnology might be expected to develop into a commercially competitive alternative to other remediation methods.

Plasticity and Maintenance of Hematopoietic Stem Cells During Development by Suman Kanji, Vincent J. Pompili, Hiranmoy Das (40-53).
Maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) pool depends on fine balance between self-renewal and differentiationof HSCs. HSCs normally reside within the bone marrow niche of an adult mammal. The embryonic developmentof HSCs is a complex process that involves the migration of developing HSCs in multiple anatomical sites.Throughout the process, developing HSCs receive internal (transcriptional program) and external (HSC niche) signals,which direct them to maintain balance between self-renewal and differentiation, also to generate a pool of HSCs. Inphysiological condition HSCs differentiate into all mature cell types present in the blood. However, in pathological conditionthey may differentiate into non-hematological cells according to the need of the body. It was shown that HSCs cantransdifferentiate into cell types that do not belong to the hematopoietic system suggests a complete paradigm shift of thehierarchical hematopoietic tree. This review describes the developmental origins and regulation of HSCs focusing on developmentalsignals that induce the adult hematopoietic stem cell program, as these informations are very critical for manipulatingconditions for expansion of HSCs in ex vivo condition. This review also states clinical application and relatedpatents using HSC.

Recent Patents on the Synthesis and Application of Silica Nanoparticles for Drug Delivery by Maria Lucia Foglia, Gisela Solange Alvarez, Paolo Nicolas Catalano, Andrea Mathilde Mebert, Luis Eduardo Diaz, Thibaud Coradin, Martin Federico Desimone (54-61).
Drug delivery systems are designed to improve therapy efficacy as well as patient compliance. This could beaccomplished by specifically targeting a medication intact to its active site, therefore reducing side-effects and enablinghigh local drug concentrations. Silica nanoparticles have gained ground in the biomedical field for their biocompatibilityand biodegradability, being themselves inert and stable, thus enabling a variety of formulation designs for application inthe pharmaceutical industry. This paper is a review of the recent patents on the applications of silica nanoparticles fordrug delivery and their preparation. The review will focus on the different techniques available to obtain silica nanoparticleswith variable morphology and their drug targeting applications, providing an overview of silica particles synthesis describedin the literature.

Patent Selections: by Bentham Science Publishers (62-66).
The patents annotated in this section have been selected from various patent data bases. These recent patents are relevant to thearticles published in this journal issue, categorized by different biotechnology methods, processes and techniques involved.