MSU ag, biotech research yields new technologies
Another technology features a new way to test the effectiveness of drugs in treating osteoarthritis and other joint-degrading diseases. A team of engineering and immunology researchers developed a mouse with luminescent cartilage in its knees.
The cartilage genes of the mouse have been modified to include a firefly gene so that the areas affected by testing of osteoarthritis therapies light up and offer quantifiable data on changes to that cartilage. Previous methods for testing in mice have been limited because studying effects on mouse cartilage required researchers to euthanize the mouse. Other techniques also require expensive imaging equipment such as MRI. MSU’s luminescent mouse model addresses these issues, allowing researchers to measure effects to mouse cartilage over time, noninvasively and through direct observation.
Given that 27 million people in the U.S. and 250 million worldwide suffer from this most common form of arthritis, MSU’s new mouse technology comes amid ever-increasing efforts to develop treatments, and it solves a major bottleneck found by those researching drug therapies for osteoarthritis.
The new mouse model has been successfully bred and a patent is pending.
Researchers in MSU’s Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience have discovered a way to multiply the brightness of a fluorescent protein that has been used in tests on fruit flies. By cloning six fluorescent proteins into a Drosophila fruit fly, researchers were able demonstrate a dramatic increase in brightness that is visible to the naked eye.
Because many important biotechnology discoveries depend on the ability of researchers to observe cellular responses to environmental changes – how a cellular function is related to a specific disease – researchers use fluorescent proteins to report genetic response to different stimuli, such as drug compounds.
Since the effectiveness of commercial fluorescent proteins has been limited by how brightly they show their fluorescense, MSU’s new technique for improving their brightness should be of interest to the biomedical industry. The method should be effective for a broad range of research organisms such as mice, worms, bacteria, zebrafish and flies. MSU has a patent pending.
MSU currently has 229 licenses on technologies developed by faculty. Of those, 72 licenses are with Montana companies.
The MSU Office of Technology Transfer has an application that will automatically alert people to new technologies. To sign up MSU Tech Alerts click the link at the bottom of the Office of Technology Transfer Office website or visit https://www.montana.edu/techalert.
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