Patent Picks—Imaging Skin, Simulating Eyelashes, Assaying Immune Response and More

Chosen biweekly by Rachel Grabenhofer, senior editor, for their relevance to personal care, Patent Picks are taken from publicly available sources. This edition features recently issued patents relevant to advances in testing for cosmetics R&D.

Visible light image capturing, processing system
US Patent 7773802
Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2010
Assignee: Olympus Corp. (Tokyo)

This patented image processing system includes a photographing apparatus and a processing apparatus. The photographing apparatus includes six LEDs for emitting light with characteristics of spectroscopic distributions varied in a visible light area. In addition, the invention includes a monochrome-type charge-coupled device (CCD) that picks up an image of the subject illuminated by the LEDs and is formed by an image pick-up optical system. The processing apparatus includes a calculating device and a display that projects the signal created by the calculating device. The calculating device creates the signal for color reproduction at the high fidelity level by capturing the six-primary-color subject spectroscopic images photographed by the photographing apparatus.

Simulating and imaging eyelashes
US Patent 7773091
Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2010
Assignee: L'Oréal (Paris)

This patent describes a computer-implemented method for simulating the appearance of at least one fringe of lashes. The invention includes a processing unit based on at least one value of at least one simulation parameter that is modifiable by a user; at least one 3D image of the at least one fringe of lashes, allowing the user to modify the value of the simulation parameter relating to at least one characteristic of a product applied to the lashes and a cosmetic treatment of the lashes. Simulation parameters relate to lash characteristics such as curvature, length, thickness and angles that define an orientation in which the lashes extend from a surface of the skin, allowing the user to select an applicator impacting at least one of these values.

Methods for evaluating quantitative changes of products on epithelial tissue
US Patent 7771925
Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2010
Assignee: The Procter & Gamble Co. (Cincinnati, USA)

This invention describes a method for determining the relative benefits of products that affect animal epithelial tissue. Also provided is a method for evaluating quantitative changes on one or more affected surfaces of epithelial tissue of a subject caused by the test product.

Mimicking skin's immune response
US Patent 7771999
Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2010
Assignee: VaxDesign Corp. (Orlando, FL, USA)

This patent provides methods of constructing an integrated artificial immune system comprising appropriate in vitro cellular and tissue constructs or their equivalents to mimic the tissues of the immune system in mammals. The artificial immune system can be used to test the efficacy of vaccine candidates and other materials in vitro and thus is useful to accelerate vaccine development and/or testing drug and chemical interactions with the immune system, coupled with disease models to provide a more complete representation of an immune response.

Determining the relative benefits of topical products
US Patent 7771924
Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2010
Assignee: The Procter & Gamble Co. (Cincinnati, USA)

This invention describes a method for determining the relative effects of products on animal epithelial tissue. Also described is a method for evaluating quantitative changes on one or more affected surfaces of epithelial tissue of a subject caused by a test product. The methods of the present invention relate to the affect a product has on the epithelial tissue of a subject or the relative benefit of one product over another. In the first embodiment of the invention the products are test product, whereas in the second embodiment of the invention, the products are test products or comparison products. Products may be any product that may have an effect on epithelial tissue.

Non-limiting examples of such products include personal cleansing products, such as but not limited to: cosmetics, hair colorants, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, makeup, lotions, topical lotions, ointments, creams, skin lotions and the like; personal care objects, such as but not limited to: tooth brushes, hair brushes, brushes for a pet, and the like; clothing, such as but not limited to underwear, footwear and the like; medicaments; pet food; toothpaste; mouth wash; hand sanitizers; disposable absorbent articles, such as but not limited to, pads, tampons, training pants, diapers; hard surface cleaning compositions; facial tissues; wet wipes, such as but not limited to baby wipes, facial wipes, and the like; cleaning compositions, such as but not limited to dishwashing detergent, bleach, laundry detergent and the like; and combinations thereof.

Evaluating the pH and buffering capacity of moisture-containing cleansers
US Patent Application 20100197037
Publication Date: Aug. 5, 2010
Assignee: The Procter & Gamble Co. (Cincinnati, USA)

The present patent describes a system comprising a moisture-containing cleansing article and a visual pH indicator that changes changing color at a pH above 4.0. The system can comprise a buffer, having preferably a pKa above 5.5, and a set of instructions for evaluating moisture-containing cleansing articles. The pH buffer of the system can have a pKa value equal to or greater than the pH of the color change of the visual pH indicator. In addition, the pH of color change of the visual pH indicator can be equal to or greater than the pH of the lotion. This system can be used to evaluate the pH of moisture-containing cleansing article lotions and to quantify the ability to neutralize alkalinity such as the alkalinity provided by residues of feces and urine over time on the skin of a baby.

Growing cell cultures having desired metabolic activity
US Patent Application 20100196444 
Publication Date: Aug. 5, 2010 
Assignee: Keracure Inc. (Chicago, USA)

This invention discloses methods and compositions to provide suitable support material for culturing cells with desirable metabolic activity. For example, keratinocytes directly grown on flexible supports show metabolic activity. Wound healing methods and compositions are disclosed using the cells grown on flexible supports, wherein the cells exhibit increased metabolic activity. Cells cultured according to the methods described herein are also useful for cosmetics, for example, treatment post skin peel or dermabrasion, and scar reduction for skin cancer removal, tattoo removal, and for other plastic surgical procedures that require tissue implantation.

Improving immunoassay reliability
US Patent 7771986
Publication Date: Aug. 10, 2010
Assignee: 3M Innovative Properties Co. (St. Paul, MN, USA)

This system and apparatus are useful for detecting a target microorganism or agent and involves a solid support carrying a binding partner specific for the particular microorganism or agent and the solid support being characterized as a means for protecting the binding partner from being dislodged or scraped off of the solid support. The provision of protection against the binding partner being dislodged improves the reliability of tests such as immunoassays being conducted with the solid support and also enables such tests to be automated. Modules and machines for use with the solid support, and the automated conduct of tests are also disclosed.

Molecular color and fluorescent sensory arrays
US Patent Application 20100197516
Publication Date: Aug. 5, 2010
Inventors: Holmes, Andrea (Crete, NE, USA)

Disclosed in this patent is Detechip, a small molecule detection device including a chamber, a carrier within the chamber and a dye in combination with the carrier. The dye is capable of interacting with a small molecule target to produce a detectable change in color, fluorescence, mass uptake, refractive index, extinction coefficient or solubility. A method of using the device is also disclosed. The detection system is compatible with the solubility of many small molecules such as narcotics, which are often presented as salts to ensure water solubility. It is a new spot test device for lab and potential field use that is radically different from current spot tests, as it relies on the interactions between suspect materials and non-toxic dyes rather than functional group reactivity.

Assay for inhibitors of protein kinase C-related kinases
US Patent 7767411
Publication Date: Aug. 3, 2010
Assignee: Universitaetsklinikum Freiburg (Freiburg, DE)

The present invention relates to an assay for specific inhibitors of protein kinase C-related kinases (PRKs) relating to one or more of the reactions wherein said protein kinase C-related kinases are involved under physiological conditions. The invention also relates to a process for identifying specific inhibitors for protein kinase C-related kinases. A use of such assays may not only be proposed for searching or screening purposes so as to find new substances suitable as inhibitors for PKRs, but may also be proposed for medical use, pharmaceutical or pharmacological use, food chemistry or animal food use, cosmetic testing use, etc.

Tissue-engineered silk organs
US Patent Application 20100191328
Publication Date: July 20, 2010
Assignee: Trustees of Tufts College (Medford, MA, USA)

This patent describes a lamellae tissue layer comprising a grooved silk fibroin substrate comprising tissue-specific cells. The silk fibroin substrates provides a means of controlling and culturing cell and extracellular matrix development. A multitude of lamellae tissue layers can be used to create a tissue-engineered organ, such as a tissue-engineered cornea. The tissue-engineered organ is non-immunogenic and biocompatible.

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