Kentucky Patent of the Month – January 2024

NX Prenatal Inc. is a private US-based molecular diagnostics company focused on advancing the field of technology and care-based approaches for those facing adverse pregnancy conditions such as preterm birth, preeclampsia, and placenta accreta.

The majority of preterm deliveries are spontaneous and relatively little progress has been made in determining if a pregnant woman is at risk for preterm birth. NX Prenatal has recently been granted a patent for a detection method that aims to improve the ability to predict this risk so that physicians may deliver preventative measures earlier than ever before.

The patented detection method is designed to detect microparticle-associated proteins and biomarkers that are known to be associated with preterm birth. The detection method uses a blood sample from the patient. An isolation process is conducted. Through the use of size-exclusion chromatography and an agarose solid phase and a non-buffered aqueous liquid phase (often, water), microparticles are deftly separated from the blood matrix. This delicate maneuver sets the stage for a transformative analysis.

Liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) takes center stage, becoming the lens through which the invention scrutinizes specific microparticle-associated proteins. Notably, the focus extends to proteins such as Inter-alpha trypsin inhibitor H4 (ITIH4), Transferrin (TF), and Plasma protease C1 inhibitor (SERPING1). The selection of these proteins adds a layer of precision to the detection process.

What makes this invention even more compelling is its temporal sensitivity. The method hones in on the second trimester of pregnancy, pinpointing the critical window of gestation at 10, 11, or 12 weeks. This temporal acumen enhances the predictive power of the invention, contributing to a nuanced understanding of preterm birth risk.

The method accommodates the diverse landscape of pregnancy, adapting seamlessly to both primigravida and multigravida scenarios. Whether the microparticles are from plasma or serum, the invention maintains its diagnostic prowess.

NX Prenatal’s invention unfolds as a beacon of hope in the realm of maternal-fetal health. It not only offers a method for early risk assessment but also provides a comprehensive library of microparticle-associated biomarkers. Cataloged and validated, these biomarkers stand as a testament to the commitment of NX Prenatal in advancing the frontiers of prenatal care. As the scientific community grapples with the challenges posed by preterm birth, this invention emerges as a catalyst for change, bringing us closer to a future where proactive interventions pave the way for healthier pregnancies and brighter tomorrows.

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