Montana State University

New compound with promise as an influenza vaccine is among six new MSU technologies available for licensing

November 15, 2007 -- MSU News Service

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A new compound with promise as an influenza vaccine or treatment for bioterrorism agents is among six new technologies available for licensing through Montana State University.

In a MSU study, mice given the compound showed significant protection against influenza. The compound works by quickly activating a key natural defense system of the lung, known as inducible bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue or iBALT, which provides broad-range protection against infection.

The compound alone triggers iBALT formation, but it could also be used to augment the effectiveness of vaccines and therapies. It has potential as a treatment against unknown or previously untreatable microbial threats or bioterrorism agents. The compound is derived from natural substances and can be easily produced by fermentation.

The other technologies available for licensing include:

A device that mimics the natural, wave-like movements of the muscles in the human digestive track. The device could be used in pumps, as an alternative to conveyor belts for moving objects, or in medical applications such as automated massage or stimulation of limbs with poor circulation. The device -- called a linear peristaltic actuator -- relies on magnets to move super-fine iron particles suspended in oil and impregnated into a sponge-like material to create the wave-like motion.

A solid oxide fuel cell design that improves performance with more robust, easier to manufacture cells. The design allows more cells to be placed in a stack, thus optimizing power output while minimizing size and weight. The design can be fabricated with common techniques, decreasing costs while allowing for higher manufacturing tolerances.

A class of compounds that may hold promise in treating inflammatory lung diseases such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. The compounds inhibit neutrophil elastase, a microbe-killing product of white blood cells. Too much neutrophil elastase can damage lung tissue. The inhibiting compounds offer a unique avenue of treatment than most research into this area.

A digital signal processor that improves the sensitivity of FTIR spectrometers. Spectrometers are devices that measure the wavelengths of light inside and out of the visible spectrum. Spectrometers are used in many research areas, such as communications, lasers, and remote sensing. MSU's digital signal processor dramatically increases the detail and wavelength range of the spectrum examined. The device also eliminates mechanical parts used in controlling spectrometer scanning mirrors and can be easily adapted to existing spectrometers.

A technique that can hold a single layer of cells in any pattern on the surface of a material by using antibodies. Compared to other methods, the MSU technique allows more cells to be packed more densely together. Cells held on the surface can still reproduce, express their genes and bioluminese. The technique can be used to produce biosensors for food safety, bioterrorism attacks, or other diagnostic uses.

Interested companies and entrepreneurs can license the new technologies by contacting Nick Zelver with the MSU Technology Transfer Office at (406) 994-7868, or by e-mail at MSU requests that interest be expressed in writing by Dec. 15, 2007.

To date, MSU has licensed 132 technologies developed by faculty. Seventy-six of those licenses are with Montana companies.

To access these and other MSU technologies, visit:

Contact: Nick Zelver, MSU Technology Transfer Office, (406) 994-7868 or