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CTL eNewsletter: March 2008

Cornell Technology Helps Track Global Opinions Online

Yonkers, NY- According to IT publication InformationWeek, "The clash of the titans atop the search pyramid is opening up new opportunities for … smaller players in … information-access technology." Jodange, a new Cornell startup tracks and searches opinions--not data--over time. Based on the work of Cornell computer science professor Claire Cardie, Jodange recently launched "Top of Mind." Top of Mind is a new search capability that goes beyond keywords and objective data and into the realm of opinions, or sentiment.

Called a "gadget," users can install Top of Mind software directly on their customized Google home page, free of charge. Cardie says that Jodange’s Google "gadget" shows (1) the most talked about companies of the S&P 500 over the last 24hrs, (2) the top opinion holders (in terms of volume) in regards to the most talked about companies, and (3) all of the underlying opinions. The gadget is free via the web page and features updates throughout the day to keep users in touch with new opinions published.

Top of Mind is currently being evaluated by seven major global financial institutions as a potential tool to draw on hundreds of thousands of documents tracking opinions and performances of the Fortune 1000 and S&P 500. The Cornell invention at the core of Jodange's Top of Mind software is called "Opinion Summarization System," and is exclusively licensed to Jodange.

Jodange logo

Discoveries at WCMC Provide Tools to Fight Cancer Metastasis

Stem cells

A metastasizing cancer cell

Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY - A team of cancer researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC), led by Dr. David Lyden working with his colleagues, Dr. Shahin Rafii, and Dr. Rosie Kaplan have discovered that cancers mobilize normal bone marrow cells to help themselves spread, or metastasize. The team at WCMC delved into the interactions which caused the migration of stem cells from mouse bone marrow. The outer membrane of these cells, called VEGFR1 cells, sport a specific type of receptor, that responds to vascular endothelial growth factor and placental derived growth factor. This research helped the researchers define the multiple steps that drive metastasis in mice, and offers hope for future treatment to slow the spread of cancer.

In the study, researchers studied bone marrow stem cells with VEGFR1 positive cells (VEGFR1+ cells for short). In a healthy organism, VEGFR1+ cells lie dormant in the bone marrow until they are "awakened" by natural growth factors. When tumors are ready to metastasize, they release cancer-specific factors which awaken the VEGFR1+ cells and cause them to move into the blood stream and settle in particular new sites in the body. In effect, these circulating VEGFR1+ cells act as trailblazers to colonize a remote site of the body where circulating cancer cells can settle, enabling the formation of metastasized sites.

Awakened VEGFR1+ cells don’t work alone in spreading cancer. WCMC researchers found that a protein, fibronectin, also plays a role in aiding the spread of tumors, acting as a “glue” to help VEGFR1+ cells adhere to their new location. "This partnership of cells and protein creates the ideal environment for migrating cancer cells, in exactly the location they are seeking, depending on their specific cancer type," Dr. Lyden said. In their animal models the inventors showed that blocking the establishment of these clusters with various existing antagonists to these cells (e.g. antibodies) can prevent tumor cell adhesion, proliferation and metastatic spread.

Their findings enable a new method to detect or predict tumor metastasis by searching for VEGFR1+ cells in the blood, and a new method to treat or prevent metastasis by administering anti-VEGFR1 antibodies to patients with cancer.

Interested industry partners may contact Brian Kelly at


Upcoming Events

CCTEC New Business & Emerging Technology Showcase™

Date: April 11, 2008
Time: 2:00PM - 3:30PM
Location: Statler Amphitheater and Pennsylvania room

Every spring, the Entrepreneurship@Cornell Program holds a multi-day celebration of entrepreneurship happening in and around Cornell. During celebrations, CCTEC will host two showcases featuring new technologies and new business enterprises.

Seminar and Social Hour™

Date: April 29, 2008
Time: 5:30PM - 7:00PM
Location: CCTEC office suite 310, 395 Pine Tree Road

Join CCTEC professionals and MBA students from the Entrepreneur and Venture Capital Club to hear about a Cornell startup over free drinks and hors d'oeuvres. For our last S&S, until the fall, we have a exciting speaker lined up: Rajit Manohar, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and the co-founder/CTO of Achronix Semiconductor Corporation. He will share his experience starting the company.

Boot Camp

Date: June 5, 2008
Time: 8:00AM - 8:30PM
Location: Statler Hotel

This event will feature panels of experts in the areas of starting life sciences and physical sciences companies, as well as, a legal and operational issues panel. The key note lunch speaker will be John Alexander,’74, founder of The CBORD Group.

Recent Events

IP & Pizza™, College of Engineering

Date: March 31, 2008

Townhall style meeting to discuss intellectual property and technology transfer issues over pizza. Allied Minds, a pre-seed investment company, talked about how they took a technology from bench to industry.

BayHelix Reception

Date: March 5, 2008

CCTEC held a networking reception at the Cornell Club in Manhattan with members of BayHelix, an organization of Chinese-American executives in the life sciences ( CCTEC staff was on hand to discuss commercialization and technology transfer as they mingled with guests.

IP & Pizza™, College of Veterinary Medicine

Date: February 25, 2008

Attendees enjoyed free pizza and an open format discussion on technology transfer issues. Bill Greener from Bond Schoeneck & King gave a short presentation on patents.

Seminar & Social Hour™

Date: February 20, 2008

Attendees joined CCTEC professionals and MBA students from the Johnson School EVP Club to hear a presentation from Juan Hinestroza, Assistant Professor in Fiber Science and Apparel Design. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres were served.

IP & Pizza™, Department of Biochemistry, Weill Cornell Medical College

Date: February 4, 2008

Attendees enjoyed free pizza and an open format discussion on technology transfer issues. Robin Chadwick from Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner led a short conversation on patenting proteins and small molecules.