Recent Patents on Biotechnology (v.5, #2)

Cosmetic industry is a fast growing industry with the continuous development of new active ingredients forskin care products. Fullerene C60 and its derivates have been subject of intensive research in the last few years. Fullerenesdisplay a wide range of different biological activities. Strong antioxidant capacities and effective quenching radical oxygenspecies (ROS) made fullerenes suitable active compounds in the formulation of skin care products. Published evidenceon biological activities of fullerenes relevant for their application in cosmetics use and examples of published patentsare presented. Recent trends in the use of fullerenes in topical formulations and patents are reviewed. Future investigationscovering application of fullerenes in skin care are discussed.

Treatment of Effluents Polluted by Nitrogen with New Biological Technologies Based on Autotrophic Nitrification-Denitrification Processes by A. Gonzalez-Martinez, J.M. Poyatos, E. Hontoria, J. Gonzalez-Lopez, F. Osorio (74-84).
In recent years, various technologies have been developed for the removal of nitrogen from wastewater, that isrich in nitrogen but poor in organic carbon, such as the effluents from anaerobic digesters and from certain industries.These technologies have resulted in several patents. The core of these technologies is some of the processes and patentsdescribed in this paper: Aerobic denitrification, Sharon, Anammox, OLAND, CANON, NOx process, DEMON. Morespecifically, one of the first innovative options described for removing nitrogen include partial nitrification under aerobicconditions (partial Sharon process) followed by autotrophic anaerobic oxidation (Anammox process). The partial Sharon-Anammox process can be performed under alternating oxic and anoxic conditions in the same bioreactor or in two steps intwo separate bioreactors. This overview focuses on the technical and biological aspects of these new types of treatmentsystem, and compares them to other technologies. Given the fact that nitrification is a sensitive process, special attentionis paid to conditions such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, hydraulic retention time, free ammonia, nitrous acid concentration,and pH. A discussion of the pros and cons of such treatment systems is also included since autotrophic nitrogenremoval has advantages as well as drawbacks. The paper concludes with a discussion of future research that could improvethese systems by enhancing performance and reducing costs.

Antineoplastic Potential of Medicinal Plants by M. Shynu, K. P. Gupta, M. Saini (85-94).
Cancer is one of the most dreaded diseases worldwide and the incidence is on the rise in both developing anddeveloped countries. It is treated by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. In spite of advances in treatment strategies,cancer still remains a major cause of death. Research is on for development of better drugs which are more effective andsimultaneously cause fewer side effects. Plants have been used for the treatment of various ailments of man and animalssince ages. They are being screened extensively to explore the possibility of development of economically viable anticancerdrugs. Natural products of plant origin currently constitute a considerable proportion of commercially available antineoplasticdrugs. This review gives an insight into commercially available anticancer drugs of plant origin and also patentsgranted to plant derived components, extracts and polyherbal formulations possessing anticancer activity. The exhaustivework reviewed here on antineoplastic activity of various plants both in vitro and experimental models throughoutthe world will help design further research in this field.

Heterotrophic Cultivation of Microalgae for Production of Biodiesel by Mohd Shamzi Mohamed, Lai Zee Wei, Arbakariya B. Ariff (95-107).
High cell density cultivation of microalgae via heterotrophic growth mechanism could effectively address theissues of low productivity and operational constraints presently affecting the solar driven biodiesel production. This paperreviews the progress made so far in the development of commercial-scale heterotrophic microalgae cultivation processes.The review also discusses on patentable concepts and innovations disclosed in the past four years with regards to new approachesto microalgal cultivation technique, improvisation on the process flow design to economically produced biodieseland genetic manipulation to confer desirable traits leading to high valued lipid-bearing microalgae strains.

Peptides deriving from tumor-associated antigens and recognized by patient T cells have been firstly defined inthe early 90's, and then used as vaccine in animal models and in cancer patients. Early trials showed a variable, often evenhigh frequency of patients developing peptide-specific T-cell mediated immune response usually accompanied by a lowerfrequency of clinical response. Modified, long peptides could be synthesized with a higher in vitro binding to the correspondingHLA allele that only seldom translated into a clear improvement in the tumor response. However, we show herethat more recent studies of multipeptide-based vaccines resulted in a higher and more robust T cell response causing also amore effective clinical response particularly in melanoma and prostate cancer patients. In this article, we also used someof the recent patents describing different inventions related to pre-clinical and clinical aspects of peptide based vaccinesagainst human solid tumors.

Bioengineering RNA Silencing Across the Life Kingdoms by R. Alvarez-Fernandez, S. Lopez-Gomollon, A. F. Lopez-Martinez, F. E. Nicolas (118-146).
RNA silencing negatively regulates gene expression at transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels, guided bysmall RNA molecules. It modulates core regulatory pathways across the eukaryotes, such as developmental processes orstress responses. The widespread existence of this phenomenon and the key pathways regulated have led to the developmentof a new technology based on the modification of gene expression, which has been applied successfully in differentareas such as medicine or agriculture. Here we review the most important patents related to RNA silencing across the lifekingdoms, including biotechnological applications into medicine, crop science and bioengineering.

Patent Selections by Bentham Science Publishers (147-147).
The patents annotated in this section have been selected from various patent data bases. These recent patents are relevant tothe articles published in this journal issue, categorized by different biotechnology methods, processes and techniques involved.