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Displaying Available Technologies results for Biotechnology


Technology Summary

There are growing numbers of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic disorders, but few effective treatments exist.

A University of Utah researcher has identified a specific class of bacteria from the gut that prevents mice from becoming obese. These microbes may similarly control weight in people. The beneficial bacteria, called Clostridia, are part of the gut microbiome. Healthy mice have plenty of Clostridia, but those with an impaired immune system lose these microbes from their gut as they age. Even when fed a healthy diet, the mice inevitably become obese. Administering the Clostridia bacteria to the animals allowed them to stay slim. One or more molecules produced by Clostridia prevented the gut from absorbing fat. These molecules will be isolated and should enable the development of therapeutics for obesity and type-2 diabetes.


Technology Summary

Three-dimensional microfabrication may one day enable less expensive and more expedient production of electrode arrays for use as neuroprosthetics and neural research tools. However, conventional 3D microfabrication techniques cannot yet produce high aspect ratio patterns or consistent results.

Researchers at the University of Utah have created a novel technique for the 3D microfabrication of electrode arrays. This method uses 3D lithography to construct a mold for electrode arrays. A layer of electrode array substrate is deposited onto the electrode array, using pre-existing arrays, and is then dissolved under the mold. The resulting mold enables consistent, inexpensive electrode array production.


Technology Summary

Electrocorticography (ECoG) is increasingly important for brain-machine interfaces, as well as long-term neural circuitry and synchronization research. ECoGs measure electrical potentials on the surface of the cerebral cortex, making ECoG well-suited for epilepsy monitoring and controlling cursory movement of neuroprosthetics. However, hemorrhage, infection, and infarction sometimes complicate conventional ECoG recordings.

University of Utah researchers have developed a biocompatible, small, flexible, thin-film polymer micro-electrocorticography array. The array is built with perforated Parylene-C, a biocompatible and highly flexible material that allows diffusion. This design facilitates the conformation of the array to the cortex surface profile and reduces the risk of immune system response.


Technology Summary

Physicians view electrode arrays as cutting edge treatment and therapy for neurological disorders. However, customization requirements, high costs, and technological deficiencies represent research and development challenges that must be overcome for mass adoption of electrode arrays.

Researchers at the University of Utah have created a platform technology that facilitates fabrication of micro-molded, customizable neural arrays. This platform allows users to customize substrate material, electrode material, and 2D or 3D configuration. The array is ten created using a micro assembly process for low-profile integration of single and multi-shaft probes that do not impinge on overlying structures, such as the skull. This technology is especially well-suited for research use because researchers can customize the electrode arrays, allowing for cost-effective, repeatable array design. Micro-molded neural arrays also have applications in drug delivery, optogenetics, and neuroprosthetics.


Technology Summary

Physicians increasingly use neural arrays as therapeutic treatment for
neurological disorders despite their shortcomings. Neural arrays are
limited by functional efficiency and longevity concerns, cause glial scar
tissue to develop and encapsulate the implant, which inhibits electrical
signal stimulation, and degrade over time due to the growing impedance
barrier that requires increased charge flow to stimulate an action

Researchers at the University of Utah have developed an electrode with a
platinum coating that addresses many of these shortcomings. The
electrode has a highly biocompatible, pseudoporous electrode-tissue
interface and a modified texture that increases its real surface area. The
invention requires less electrical signal to successfully stimulate neuron
action potentials, which decreases risk to surrounding neural tissue and
increases longevity of the array. In vitro testing indicated the modified
texture also reduced neural scar tissue surrounding the array.


Technology Summary

Neural microelectrodes are crucial to the development of neural prostheses used to restore lost motor or sensory functions in the body. However, due to their large and rigid base existing commercial devices (such as the Utah array) damage neural tissue. Additionally, use in clinical applications is limited by their short lifetime – typically a few months to several years.

A new variant of the Utah electrode array minimizes this damage using a bio-erodible substrate. A biocompatible and dissolvable material binds the matrix of electrodes. The substrate dissolves in biological fluid, leaving the electrode array needles freely floating within neural tissue. The free-floating electrode array, nicknamed the “Natural Buoyancy Utah Array” uses the same construction technique of typical Utah arrays, but significantly reduces micro-motion of the array within the brain tissue. This increases array lifetime and improves overall array performance.


Technology Summary

Nervous system disorders represent one of the nation’s largest healthcare problems, afflicting more than 100 million people in the United States annually. Electrode arrays are emerging as premier neuroprosthetic interfaces for restoring sensory, motor, and other functions after nervous system damage or disease. While electrode arrays depend on action potentials to function properly, action potentials generated by nerves are relatively weak compared to surrounding physiological signals. This weakness obstructs clear array recording and stimulation.

University of Utah researchers have developed an electrically shielded containment system for high-count electrode arrays to combat signal contamination. This containment system consists of a gold screen that is connected electrically to ground and surrounds the array, reducing electrical noise contamination.


Technology Summary

Current pathogen detection methods are time and cost intensive, requiring over 24 hours for testing and analysis. The proposed biohazard analyzer enables simultaneous detection of 15 different bacteria, protozoa, and viruses within three hours. The analyzer utilizes magnetic beads and antibodies to capture target pathogens. The resulting nanoshells allow even low concentrations to be detected through comparison with known samples. This device is transportable, enabling use as a laboratory bench-top sensor or as a fully automated sensor for remote areas, such as military deployment. This has potential applications for use in military deployment, humanitarian efforts, disaster relief, and food and beverage manufacturing.


Technology Summary

Over 70,000 new cases of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL) were diagnosed in 2015, while nearly 20,000 people died from the disease. Most NHL cases derive from B cell lymphocytes and are treated with rituximab and chemotherapy. Almost 40 percent of patients, however, develop resistance to these therapies.

Research indicates the proposed albumin- based nanoconjugate can trigger direct and specific apoptosis of B-cell lymphomas without the help of effector cells. Hybridization of two complementary morpholino oligonucleotides or complementary coiled-coil forming peptides at B cell surface mediates crosslinking of receptors to initiate apoptosis. One oligonucleotide (MORF1) or coiled-coil forming peptide (CCE) is bound to an antibody fragment recognized by the CD20 receptor (nanoconjugate 1); the complementary oligonucleotide (MORF2) or oligonucleotide (CCK) is bound in multiple copies to human albumin.