[Ip-health] Microsoft's patent on altered parasites to fight diseases
james.love at keionline.org
Tue Jan 25 07:02:34 PST 2011
Apparently Microsoft has obtained this patent on a method of addressing
malaria and other diseases.
A copy of the patent here: http://goo.gl/46pLK
United States Patent Application 20110010782
Kind Code A1
Horvitz; Eric J. ; et al. January 13, 2011
ADAPTING PARASITES TO COMBAT DISEASE
Provided are systems and/or methods that facilitate sensing, detecting,
logging, or treatment of a condition or need of a living body using a
Malaria is one of the world's major health problems. About one
quarter of the world's population is exposed to the risk of malaria and
more than a million people die of malaria each year. During the 20th
century, economic and social development, together with anti-malarial
campaigns, have resulted in the eradication of malaria from large areas
of the world, reducing the affected area of the earth's land surface
from 50% to 27%. Nonetheless, given expected population growth it is
projected that by 2010 half of the world's population, nearly 3.5
billion people, will be living in areas where malaria is transmitted.
Current estimates suggest that there are well in excess of 1 million
deaths due to malaria every year, and the economic costs for Africa
alone are staggering. These figures highlight the global malaria crisis
and the challenges it poses to the international health community.
One of the most acute forms of the disease is caused by the
protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum which is responsible for most
of the mortality attributable to malaria. Another form of the disease is
caused by Plasmodium vivax.
The life cycle of Plasmodium (e.g., P. falciparum or P. vivax) is
complex requiring two hosts, man and mosquito, for completion. The
infection of man is initiated by the inoculation of sporozoites in the
saliva of an infected mosquito. The sporozoites migrate to the liver and
there infect hepatocytes (liver stage) where they differentiate, via the
exoerythrocytic intracellular stage, into the merozoite stage which
infects red blood cells (RBC) to initiate cyclical replication in the
asexual blood stage. The cycle is completed by the differentiation of a
number of merozoites in the RBC into sexual stage gametocytes which are
ingested by the mosquito, where they develop through a series of stages
in the midgut to produce sporozoites which migrate to the salivary
Individuals can be inoculated against malaria. Irradiated
mosquitoes can be used to deliver damaged Plasmodium to individuals.
Instead of contracting malaria, an individual receiving the damaged
Plasmodium develops an immune response that renders the individual
resistant to contracting malaria.
The following presents a simplified summary of the innovation in
order to provide a basic understanding of some aspects described herein.
This summary is not an extensive overview of the claimed subject matter.
It is intended to neither identify key or critical elements of the
claimed subject matter nor delineate the scope of the subject
innovation. Its sole purpose is to present some concepts of the claimed
subject matter in a simplified form as a prelude to the more detailed
description that is presented later.
Electronics can be adapted to exploit novel methods of monitoring
body functions and delivering useful substances to the body, including
treatment of malaria and monitoring and/or treating other bodily
conditions. By modifying or making a parasitic organism that can be
programmatically controlled by a stimulus external to the altered
parasitic organism, the parasitic organism can be a powerful tool in
delivering therapeutic compounds. Control over the function of the
parasitic organism permits the selective activation of a treatment
protocol, since the altered parasitic organism has the inherent ability
to conduct nanoscale manufacturing of one or more beneficial substances.
Rather than build nanomachines from scratch, altered parasitic organisms
can be exploited as custom designed nanomachines that manufacture and/or
deliver useful substances or payloads to a host. In order to effectively
manage the host's condition, the modified parasitic organism can be used
to deliver beneficial care and/or to record the internal state of the
The following description and the annexed drawings set forth in
detail certain illustrative aspects of the claimed subject matter. These
aspects are indicative, however, of but a few of the various ways in
which the principles of the innovation can be employed and the claimed
subject matter is intended to include all such aspects and their
equivalents. Other advantages and novel features of the claimed subject
matter will become apparent from the following detailed description of
the innovation when considered in conjunction with the drawings.
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