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Patents, trademark issued to UTHSC innovators
(2-22-02)

Recent biomedical advances at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC) have resulted in at least three new U.S. patents, one new Australian patent and one new registered trademark, according to UTHSC's Office of Technology Ventures.

The U.S. Patent Office issued a patent for two portable instruments used to measure the chemistry of blood samples in cardiac catheterization labs, intensive care units and emergency rooms. The inventors are Albert P. Shepherd Jr., Ph.D., professor of physiology, and John M. Steinke, Ph.D. Dr. Shepherd is the founder and president of Avox Systems Inc., which has an exclusive worldwide license to the invention. Dr. Steinke is director of research and development at the San Antonio company. The scientists received similar patents in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom in 1999. More than 800 units have been sold worldwide. Applications include diagnosing problems such as heart defects.

William E. Sponsel, M.D., associate professor and director of research in the department of ophthalmology, received a U.S. patent covering new methods for treating macular disease in the eye. Dr. Sponsel found that agents called carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (CAI's) induce ocular blood vessels to stay dilated, thus bringing more blood flow and nutrients to the back of the eye. Diminished circulation in the rear of the eye is tied to many blinding diseases, including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. Dozens of subjects at UTHSC are experiencing improvement in their central fields of vision while receiving CAI combination treatment.

An Australian patent was issued to Barbara D. Boyan, Ph.D., and David D. Dean, Ph.D., professors of orthopaedics at the Health Science Center, and to Simon van Dijk, Ph.D., of ILEX Oncology in San Antonio. The title is "Calcium Binding Proteolipid Compositions and Methods." This patent describes a membrane protein, present in bacteria, that is required for microbial calcification, which may contribute to dental calculus formation as well as cardiovascular disease.

A U.S. trademark was registered for Stealth Gerontology®, the teacher-training component of Positively Aging®. This program, developed by faculty and staff members of UTHSC's Aging Research and Education Center (AREC), enables teachers to incorporate positive messages about healthy aging into the K-12 curriculum. Teacher training sessions are held each summer. Michael J. Lichtenstein, M.D., professor of medicine, is the principal investigator on the project. Carolyn E. Marshall, Ph.D., the AREC's director of graduate education and special programs, is the project director.

Lee F. Kolakowski Jr., Ph.D., formerly of the department of pharmacology, and colleague Carina Tan received a U.S. patent for an invention titled "Nucleic Acid Encoding Mouse Galanin Receptor (GALR2)." Dr. Kolakowski now is the president and chief executive officer of ReceptorBase Inc. in Timonium, Md.

Contact: Will Sansom