Patent Watch

Pancreas Implant

An implantable bioartificial pancreas with an islet chamber containing glucose responsive and insulin secreting cells was patented by the University of Toledo. It has specialized chambers that allow small molecules, such as insulin, oxygen, and glucose to pass through its walls, but the walls do not permit the passage of white cells and antibodies produced by the body’s immune system. Patent No. US 5387237.

Electrochemistry Measures Sugar

A patent was issued to Duquesne University of the Holy Ghost for a new implantable glucose sensor. It utilizes electrochemistry to measure variations in electric current which reflect the glucose content of the blood. The device also uses variable voltages which allow the electrode to be self-cleaning. Patent No. US 5387327.

Thin Film Sensors

MiniMed, Inc. has received a patent for a new method of manufacturing thin film electrochemical sensors, like the subcutaneous glucose sensors used to monitor blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes. Patent No. US 5391250.

Beneficial Compounds

Eli Lilly and Company have recently patented two compounds found to be useful as hypoglycemic agents. Included in the patent is a method of using the compounds to lower blood glucose in mammals. Patent No. US 5397798. The company has also patented a type of compound that can be used for appetite regulation and for the treatment of gastrointestinal and central nervous system disorders. These unique pyrazolidinones have been found to exhibit significant binding to cholecystokinin (CCK) receptors and gastrin receptors both in the brain and in peripheral sites such as the pancreas. Patent No. US 5399565.

Pure islets

A new method and special apparatus for concentrating and purifying islets of Langerhans has been developed by Cobe Laboratories, Inc. A tissue suspension flows through a channel, and as the islets settle they are drawn through an outlet at the bottom of the channel. The remaining tissue suspension passes through a second slightly higher outlet. Publication No. EP0561549A2, A3.

Lasers and Sugar Levels

Sunshine Medical Instruments Inc. has a patent on an apparatus for the non-invasive measurement of blood glucose levels. The instrument produces a laser beam that conducts a measurement at the finger or ear lobe. The measurement is compared to a reference signal and is processed to obtain the blood glucose reading. Patent No. US 5398681. Kurashiki Boseki Kabushiki Kaisha has a patent on similar laser technology. Using a variable wavelength semiconductor laser, their detectors measure the reflected and transmitted intensities of the laser beam and determine the corresponding blood sugar level. Publication No. WO9505120.

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