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Patent Awarded for Exosome Capture Process

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia (A. Kotok)

19 July 2017. A company making blood filtering devices was awarded a patent for a process to capture tiny particles carrying proteins that suppress immune responses. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesterday awarded patent number 9,707,333 to two inventors and assigned the patent to Aethlon Medical Inc. in San Diego.

Aethlon Medical develops blood filtering devices that remove viruses and toxins from the blood stream that interfere with immune system responses to diseases, including cancer. Among the targets for Aethlon Medical devices are exosomes, tiny — 40 to 150 nanometer — lipid-membrane containers in cells that gather up and secrete cytoplasm, the gel-like material outside the cell nucleus. While originally believed to carry out waste removal and other maintenance tasks, exosomes were shown in recent years to perform useful delivery functions carrying proteins and genetic material to other cells, and drawing increased attention from a range of biological disciplines.

The patent covers the company’s methods for capturing exosomes in whole blood and components, such as serum or plasma, in a iltering system outside the body. The exosomes in this case contain MHC-I or MHC-II antigens, proteins associated with suppressing the body’s immune responses to tumor cells, thus allowing the cancer to grow and spread. MHC-I and MHC-II antigens are also linked to autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.

The technology described in the patent includes a filtering device aided by antibodies with an affinity for MHC-I and MHC-II antigens. The process also uses absorbent materials to capture and remove exosomes, while allowing blood to flow through the device unimpeded. In addition, the system returns the filtered blood or components to the patient.

Exosome capture is a major focus for Aethlon Medical. A subsidiary of the company, Exosome Sciences, develops diagnostics for disease that process exosomes containing biomarkers, or molecular indicators of specific diseases. The lead product for Exosome Sciences is a test in development for chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE, a disease that develops in athletes playing collision sports, such as American football and rugby, as well as military veterans encountering repeated head impacts. The disease is associated with progressive degeneration of brain tissue, as well as a build up of abnormal protein deposits known as tau.

As reported in Science & Enterprise, Exosome Sciences is conducting a clinical trial of its blood test, recruiting former players from the National Football League as participants. James Joyce, the founder of Aethlon Medical and Exosome Sciences is a former NFL player, whose teammate in college died at age 45 from a drug overdose attributed to CTE.

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