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Manumeter for Monitoring and Assessing Upper Extremity Rehabilitation

After an injury or neurological event, a patient’s rehabilitation requires long-term assessment and monitoring, especially in the upper extremities that are important for everyday tasks.UCI researchers have developed the Manumeter to quantitatively assess and log a patient’s hand movements without external therapist intervention.

Switchable Chimeric Antigen Receptor-Engineered Human Natural Killer Cells

The existing CAR-engineered T cell-based (CAR-T) therapy represents one of the most successful immunotherapy approaches developed in recent years. Most CAR-T cell therapy has been used clinically to treat hematological malignancies by targeting the B cell-specific antigen, CD19. However, this approach is not without limitations due to toxicities such as by neurotoxicity or cytokine release syndrome. Additionally, CAR-T cells function only as autologous cells due to graft-versus-host disease that would develop if cells were obtained from another person. Therefore, CAR-T cells must be produced on a patient-specific basis. NK cells, on the other hand, function as allogenic cytotoxic effector cells that do not have to be utilized on a patient-specific basis and are proven to be less toxic since they do not cause cytokine release syndrome, neurotoxicity, or graft-versus-host disease. For these reasons, CAR-engineered NK (CAR-NK) cells have increasingly attracted interest as an alternative CAR-cell therapy. However, there exist other unmet challenges. Targeting CAR-based therapies against solid tumors has been challenging due to the lack of truly tumor-specific antigens as most targets are shared by non-malignant cells and can cause toxicity due to “on-target, off-tumor” effects.” A fine-tunable CAR therapy is useful to better identify and target tumors while limiting this toxicity.

New Bright Green Fluorescent Proteins

Fluorescent proteins (FP) have been widely used as research tools in both academia and pharma for many years.  Naturally occurring FP have been mutated to either be brighter, be monomers, and/or for easier folding and expression in cells.  The most common FP to date has been the green fluorescent protein (GFP) of the jelly fish Aequorea victoria which can be expressed in cells and fused with proteins of interest, and has proven to be an excellent tool to study protein localization, expression, signaling, etc. in real time via microscopy and other techniques. 

Kelch Like Family Member 11 (Klhl11) Autoantibodies As Markers Of Seminoma Associated Paraneoplastic Encephalitis In Men

Researchers at UCSF and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub have discovered a novel biomarker for an autoimmune disease that affects patients with testicular cancer.  The disease, known as “testicular cancer-associated paraneoplastic encephalitis,” can cause severe neurological symptoms.  The symptoms include loss of limb control, eye movement, and in some cases, speech.  The disease begins with testicular cancer, which in some cases causes the immune system to attack the brain.  Affected patients are often misdiagnosed and appropriate treatment is delayed. 

Triazolo/Phenylpyrimidine Compounds as Novel Candidate Treatments for Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is a disease caused by infection with parasitic flatworms called schistosomes. The three major medically important species are Schistosoma mansoni (causing intestinal schistosomiasis in Africa and South America), S. japonicum (intestinal schistosomiasis in East Asia), and S. haematobium (causing genitourinary schistosomiasis in Africa and the Middle East). Signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloody stool, or blood in the urine.  The treatment of schistosomiasis serves three purposes: reversing acute or early chronic disease, preventing complications associated with chronic infection, and preventing neuroschistosomiasis. The goal of treatment is to remove the worms that produce the eggs which, in turn, are responsible for disease morbidity and mortality. There is no effective vaccine against schistosomiasis.

Vaccine Adjuvant That Bypasses the Cold Chain

Dr. David Lo and his colleagues at UCR have developed a new vaccine adjuvant that is composed of engineered cross-linked polymeric flagellin.  This new adjuvant stabilizes vaccines so that it may bypass the cold chain and may potentially increase vaccination rates in remote areas without a reliable source of electricity.  Another aspect of this flagellin adjuvant is that it may induce a T helper independent immune response.  This immune response may be desirable in patients with T cell immunodeficiency disorders. Fig. 1 is a schematic that shows disulfide bonds between neighboring flagellin filaments. The covalently stabilized flagellar filament provides additional immune efficacy through the stabilization of its polymeric filament structure and this contributes to the long-term storage of a vaccine absent the cold chain Fig. 2 shows the long term temperature stability of the adjuvant in solution. Less than 50% of the engineered adjuvant was degraded after being heated to 42°C for 7 days.  

Bioresorbable Electrodes for Recording, Stimulation, and Drug Delivery

Prof. Huinan Liu and her colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed new magnesium based bioresorbable electrodes capable of recording, stimulating, and repairing neural tissues for a wide range of diseases and injuries. These new electrodes degrade naturally in aqueous physiological environments and eliminate the need for surgical removal of the implanted electrodes. This technology would benefit both doctors, patients, and researchers by introducing a new generation of neural electrodes that minimize damage to neural tissue while providing the option of drug delivery with the conductive polymer coating.

Reacting Molecules and Colloids Electrophoretically

Researchers in UCLA's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have harnessed gel electrophoresis in order to direct and program controlled collisional reactions between pulse-like bands of molecules and/or colloidal reagent species.