Latest AIM Projects

KM Cells - A Metastatic Cell Line and Method of Producing

In this study, researchers at the University of Arizona investigated an early cancer invasion event using a unique in vivo model. Muscle invasion was tested by the ability of prostate cancer cells to colonize the inferior surface of the respiratory diaphragm of male NGS mice, invade into and through to the superior surface. They isolated and compared the biological, cellular, and molecular characteristics of “Inferior” non-invasive tumor. “Muscle-resident” cells that invaded and now reside within the diaphragm muscle of “Superior” cells that have completely traversed the diaphragm muscle. 

The results show that superior cells have gained the ability to reach a bone metastatic site, as detected by bioluminescence, PET/MRI, and history of the femur in 50% of animals as compared to no bone metastases in animals injected with Inferior cells. The Superior cells have a differential gene expression signature as compared to Inferior cells of 264 genes that was positively associated with metastatic prostate cancer in humans. Of significant interest is that muscle-resident tumor cells differentially expressed 84 genes compared to both the Inferior and Superior cancer cells, highlighting the unique environment of the active mouse muscle.

Human prostate cancer cell lines are particularly difficult to establish, and most existing cell lines do not exhibit features commonly seen in human prostate cancer. Most available models either grow only in vivo as xenografts or are androgen insensitive and fail to express prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The lack of functionally relevant model systems of advanced prostate cancer has limited prostate cancer research and therapy development. However, this technology focuses on the aggressive prostate tumors that invade through a smooth muscle pseudo capsule in a process called extracapsular extension (ECE), escaping organ confinement. The presence of ECE defines the pT3a category in the pathological staging of prostate adenocarcinoma and is associated with an increased risk of biochemical recurrence, distant metastasis, and cancer-specific mortality. Although muscle invasion is required for ECE and distant metastasis, the cellular phenotypes that dictate this behavior is not understood.



Engineered Biomaterials for Vascular Grafts


A biomaterial to create grafts for treating babies with congenital heart diseases.

Key Benefits

Market Summary

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is a congenital disability where the heart's left chamber forms incorrectly, affecting normal blood flow. About 1,000 babies are born annually with the condition, which is fatal if untreated. Treatment generally involves multiple surgical procedures, implants, and/or a heart transplant to allow oxygen-rich blood to enter the body while sending oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. Survival rates for surgical repair continue to rise as surgery techniques have improved; however, 30% of babies succumb to the disease within a year.

Technical Summary

Researchers at Emory have developed new biomaterial to create grafts for treating babies with HLHS. The material comprises polycaprolactone and chitosan in a 10 to 1 ratio, drawn into 70-100 m nanofibers, and deposited onto decellularized bovine pericardium. The inventors have generated a laboratory-grade biomaterial prototype and tested it via in vitro experiments. Data show the biomaterial provides optimal stiffness, cellular attachment, and compatibility with blood cells (e.g., platelets). In addition, the biomaterial was used in vivo within sheep as carotid, pulmonary, and left arterial patches. No clots, thrombus, or material retractions were observed within the animals.

Developmental Stage

Animal data available.

Improving Pediatric Asthma Management for Urban Families


Home-based family psychoeducational intervention for low-income children with persistent asthma.

Key Benefits

Market Summary

Asthma is a disease affecting the lungs and is prevalent in 7% of all children in the United States, and that number increases in children with lower annual household income. To address this, researchers at Emory University have developed a home-based family intervention framework incorporating strategies used in successful asthma education programs for low-income, urban, minority children. This invention will contribute to educational support services in the U.S.

Technical Summary

This invention consists of home/family-based strategies to assist strategies in providing efficient asthma education programs for children of low income, urban, and minority backgrounds. The strategies consist of home visit, flexibility in tailoring program content to specific families and cultural backgrounds, various in-person contacts with ready interventionist assistance and scheduled visits, materials presented in an easy to read format, assessment of each family’s specific strengths and barriers toward asthma management, training on how to navigate the medical system and effectively communicate with health professionals, and referrals to community resources ranging from social, legal, economic, and psychological assistance. The content of the strategies can be modified for a diversity of cultural contexts, and it is intended for use by but not limited to pediatricians, nurses, family practitioners, physician’s assistants, respiratory therapists, other public health practitioners, social workers, pastoral counselors, and school guidance counselors.

Method and System for Recording and Recovery and Electrophysiology During Stimulation



Systems and methods for recording and recovering viable electrophysiological signals and during delivery of stimulation, including deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Key Benefits

Market Summary

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) consists of an implanted pulse generator that delivers electrical pulses to DBS-type electrodes implanted in a specific brain region of interest. The practice is used for therapeutic treatment of Parkinson's disease, Tremor, Dystonia, OCD, and epilepsy. There are multiple drawbacks to current DBS including a large stimulating artifact at the recording stage of DBS. Researchers at Emory University have developed the FPClipre and MB-NEDR systems with the objective of recording stimulated electrodes, among other benefits.

Technical Summary

The proposed method consists of novel systems; the instrumentation for mitigating stimulation artifact at the acquisition stage of the amplifier and analysis methods for removing the stimulation artifact from the recorded data. The instrumentation of the Fully passive clipping for recovering electrophysiology (FPClipre) consists of a hardware add-on placed in the front of the amplifier input and consists of a set of 3 passive stages. FPClipre has 3 main stages: “current limiter stage” restricts the current that can flow to the recording amplifier, “voltage range limiter stage” restricts the voltage output within the recording amplifier range to circumvent saturation, “simulation decoupler stage” which prevent a loading effect on the recording amplifier inputs. The proposed MB-NEDR method for artifact removal consists of an ad-hoc artifact estimator, which removes the stimulation artifact by estimating it through a family of constrained dampened sinusoids.

Innovative Low-Cost Sorbents for PFAS Remediation

More effective, versatile, and inexpensive sorbents that are able to sorb a wide variety of PFAS, alternatives and precursors.  Background: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are ubiquitous contaminants in the water environment. These compounds are detected in surface water, groundwater, drinking water and wastewater. Broadly speaking, PFAS can be divided into three groups: 1) Conventional PFAS, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) representing long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs). PFAAs are perceived as end products of PFAS degradation. Due to their persistent, bioaccumulative, and potentially toxic nature, U.S. EPA recommended a health advisory level of 70 ppt for PFOA and PFOS. Several states in the U.S. have established maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for different kinds of PFAAs and at even lower concentrations, like 10 or 20 ppt; 2) PFAS alternatives. These alternatives are supposed to replace PFOA and PFOS as production and use of these two PFAAs are disallowed; and 3) PFAA precursors. These precursor compounds can be degraded to PFAAs through abiotic and biotic pathways. In recent years, these precursor compounds have received increasing attention given the fact that they are widely detected in various environmental matrices. Without proper treatments, these precursors can serve as a source and reservoir of PFAAs and force PFAS remediation to be endless. To remove PFAS from contaminated water, sorbents, such as granular activated carbon (GAC) and ion exchange resin have been investigated intensively. Among all sorbents, GAC has been used widely. Many communities have chosen the same approach after their drinking water is found to contain PFAS. GAC as a sorbent, retains basically everything: metals, organic matter, etc. in the incoming water. Specific to PFAS sorption, GAC has encountered one critical issue that is well-recognized: much lower efficiency in removing short chain PFAAs and PFAS alternatives than those of long-chain PFAS. It is unclear at this stage whether GAC is able to retain PFAA precursors in water. Additionally, the process of producing GAC is highly energy intensive and has drawn scrutiny and attention recently in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Aside from drinking water, wastewater is known to contain numerous PFAS. The conventional wastewater treatment processes, such as activated sludge are unable to remove PFAS. Oftentimes, the effluent is found to have higher concentrations of PFAAs due to the possibility of degradation of PFAS precursors during the treatment process. The PFAS-containing effluent or treated wastewater will lead to further contamination of the receiving environment if the PFAS are not removed. Technology Overview:   To develop robust, versatile, and inexpensive sorbents that are able to sorb all types of PFAS in water, University at Albany researchers recently synthesized and characterized >10 sorbents. The synthesis methodology is rooted in a deep understanding of PFAS structure, chemical properties, and potential interactions between PFAS and a given sorbent. The initial screening test narrowed down the sorbents to three. Further test of the three, each at a dosage of 100 mg/L, demonstrated that the modified clay, among all sorbents synthesized and tested, had the highest removal of 9 PFAAs, GenX (PFOA alternative) and three precursors compared to GAC and powdered AC (PAC) from Calgon and a commercial AC-aluminum based sorbent. The removal by modified clay was fast and significantly higher than those of PAC. After four hours, the concentrations of all PFAS approached zero or non-detectable in the tested systems from an initial concentration of 10 ppb. For those with PAC, however, PFAS at the low end of ppt (ng/L) were still there. Additionally, the modified clay was highly efficient for sorbing one PFAS precursor, diPAP, for which the PAC was not very effective. Other sorbents that stand out are modified GAC and PAC. Both modified GAC and PAC demonstrated better performances than the un-modified counterparts. Modified GAC has higher removal than GAC for all tested PFAS. Although PAC removed most of the PFAS tested, its sorption of diPAP was significantly lower than that of modified PAC. Batch adsorption experiments were carried out with various adsorbents, including commercial Fluoro-sorb and the University of Albany modified clay and modified PAC. This modified clay and PAC showed that at T=48 h, the concentrations of most PFAS in the liquid phase were less than 100 ppt, and especially for modified clay, most of PFAS were non-detectable. For Fluoro-Sorb 200, at T=48 h, most of PFAS in the liquid phase were still at a relatively high level. For example, at 48 h PFOA was ~ 2 ppb (Co=6 ppb), and PFOS was also ~ 2 ppb (Co=15 ppb). Compared to the removal efficiency the modified clay is much better. Most recently, the team tested sorption capacity of the modified clay with varying initial concentrations for 12 PFAS. Samples were withdrawn at different time points. Interestingly, at 1 hour, almost all PFAS became non-detectable. The sorption capacity increased with the initial PFOA concentration in ppb. The same trend was observed for other PFAS. Modeling using total PFAS revealed that the total sorption capacity can be over 100 mg/g sorbent. A preliminary cost analysis indicates that the modified clay costs around $750/ton. This only considers the reagents used in the synthesis, but not the electricity cost. The research team do not perceive a high energy cost since the synthesis process necessitates less than 100 °C, much lower than what is required to make GAC (400-800 °C). For comparison, the selling price of Filtrasorb 400 GAC is $5,770/ton. For MatCARE, it is $26,000/ton. Synthetic AC was reported to cost about $1,500/ton. Advantages:   Lower cost, faster sorption, less energy intensive to produce, removes all tested PFAS whereas other sorbents do not.  Applications:   Removing PFAS in any type of water, drinking water, treated wastewater, use at large scale facilities and point of entry use.  Intellectual Property Summary: Provisional patent Stage of Development: The initial batch tests were finished. The team are moving on to conducting a flow test. The technology is TRL 2-3. The performance and testing data referenced herein may be provided upon request.  In summary, the University at Albany research team synthesized three promising sorbents toward PFAS sorption: modified GAC, modified PAC, and modified clay. These sorbents are novel, low-cost, and highly effective for removing different PFAS from contaminated water. Licensing Status:  This technology is available for licensing.

Novel Cell Therapy for CTLA4 Haploinsufficiency

Chiral turbine to be used in wind generators or in small and medium capacity generators

A chiral turbine  featuring a new geometry was designed. Its primary structural body corresponds to a triangular pyramid configured to contain a secondary structural body, which in turn is formed by a plurality of semi-axes that converge at the centroid of the primary body, and a series of chiral blades.

The blades are characterized at least by a twist performed with the same orientation in each of the blades. The chiral turbine can have different configurations, each preserving the chirality of the blades so it promotes a turning movement in the same direction around a rotation axis.

Gas-assisted dynamic co-extrusion

Unmet Need: Scalable and high-throughput fabrication of personalized medicines

In order to avoid dosage errors and adverse drug reactions for people taking multiple medications for co-occurring diseases, personalized medicines was introduced. This offered treatment of a patient by manufacturing proper drugs at the appropriate dosage via additive manufacturing and delivering to the right location at the right time. However, one of the major barriers hindering the deployment is lack of a scalable and high-throughput manufacturing process to fabricate personalized drugs on-demand at the point-of-care in a timely and cost effective manner.

The Technology: Free-form co-axial extrusion of core-shell structures with assisted gas

Researchers at WSU present a dynamic gas assisted co-extrusion process as the scalable freeform manufacturing platform to fabricate custom core-shell drugs for personalized medication. Personalized medicines have three components to it, namely the pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), the core on to which the APIs are loaded and the shell with encapsulates the core and controls the drug release kinetics, such as delayed or sustained release mode in order to protect the core from early dissolution during the digestion process. WSU researchers introduce an adjustable flow rate ratio in a free-from manufacturing process to fabricate drugs and custom dosages on-demand via controlling the variation in the core and shell diameters and shell thickness as per the variations in the dosages.



Patent Information:

Provisional patent application has been filed.

Novel Anti-microbial Peptide GL13K

IP Status: US Patent Issued # 11,147,746, US Patent Pending Application# 17/098,629


Key Benefits & Differentiators

Technology Overview

Antimicrobial resistance is a significant global public health challenge associated with nearly 5 million deaths worldwide in 2019. An increasing number of infections including pneumonia, gonorrhea, hospital-acquired infections and foodborne illnesses are becoming difficult to treat due to antibiotic resistance. The economic costs of antibiotic resistance are enormous due to increased medical costs, long periods of hospitalization and increased mortality. In addition to judicial use of antibiotics, it is imperative to develop new, efficacious therapeutics, which do not cause new bacterial resistance.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a family of antimicrobial peptides, based on the core peptide GL13, which exhibit several desirable characteristics for a novel antibiotic. These peptides directly attack the bacterial cell membrane making them less susceptible to bacterial resistance. Briefly, in vitro studies of the D-enantiomer of GL13K showed that the peptide is effective against multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, methicillin-resistant Staphylococus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), ESBL-producing Enterobacterales and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) (1,3). GL13K kills established biofilms (Fig. 1) and GL13K peptide coating of titanium implants and on dental tissues prevented biofilm formation (4,5) without impeding bone or dental tissue healing (6). In vivo studies in a mouse burn-wound infection model showed that DGL13K reduced infection (2) while increasing wound healing. Taken together, the GL13K peptide has desirable characteristics that make it suitable for development into an antibacterial therapeutic and surface coating.

Phase of Development

TRL: 3-5
In vivo studies

Desired Partnerships

This technology is now available for:

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Glycoengineering Of The Foldon Protein Trimerization Domain To Shield It From Antibody Immune Responses

To address this, researchers at UC Santa Cruz have developed glycoengineered foldon domains to include N-linked glycosylation motifs. Foldon domains that are glycosylated may produce a lower immune response than foldon domains that are not glycosylated, when administered to a subject.