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A SPECIAL REPORT

BATTLE OVER A CURE
Two UNM researchers thought they had found a potent cancer therapy. But a bitter dispute over ownership rights has kept their discovery in the courts - not the lab.



From the lab bench to the judge's bench
Handful of researchers test disputed compound
Judge rules in favor of UNM over patent for cancer work



Shots of hope
Results from clinical drug trials could mean millions for a drug company, UNM and two maverick researchers. For the patients, they could mean everything.


As scientists squabble, patient won't dwell on the negative
A patient's diary
Informal experiments make believers of local vets, animal lovers



Patently divided
With a potential cancer cure -- and potential royalties -- at stake, a court fight between UNM and two researchers breaks ground in its intensity


Universities reap dollars, hot debate from invention patents
UNM licenses yield royalties of $1.1 million


RELATED STORIES
JUNE 25:
Inventors find UNM a potent opponent in patent fights

JUNE 26:
Judge tells chemists: Keep it simple in trial

JUNE 30:
UNM expert testifies he can't synthesize cancer compound



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CLINICALLY SPEAKING

Beta-alethine: A chemical compound produced by the human body that UNM researchers discovered will stimulate the immune system to destroy cancer cells.

Beta LT: A new drug now in U.S. clinical trials based on beta-alethine. It is being marketed by LifeTime Pharmaceuticals, an affiliate of Dovetail Technologies Inc., which has an exclusive license with UNM to commercialize the drug.

Clinical trial: The testing of safety and effectiveness of new drugs in humans.

Compound: A pure substance composed of two or more atoms of different elements.

Derivative: A substance derived from another substance by chemical change.

Inventor: A person who discovers a patentable technology; only a person can be named as the inventor on a patent.

Licensee: A person or company the licenses technology from the patent owner to comercialize it.

Modulator: A regulator which adjusts, stimulates and controls functions of the human body.

Patent: An exclusive right to produce, sell or receive profit for an invention for 20 years from the time of the patent application. A person or institution that holds this right is the patent owner.

Structure: Exact composition and makeup of a chemical compound; all the atoms and bonds in a compound arranged in their correct relative positions.

Vitalethine: A natural chemical compound discovered by UNM researchers who believe it is likely the active ingredient in beta-alethine and the more potent immune stimulant. They believe it helps the immune system shrink tumors.

Vitaletheine modulators: A group or family of related natural compounds that includes vitalethine. Vitaletheine is spelled with an extra vowel to reflect the simplest, reduced form of the compounds in the family. As vitaletheine gets oxidized to sulfenic acid, this active form can react with another vitaletheine molecule and split out water, thereby linking the two molecules through the sulfurs to form vitalethine, inventor Galen Knight says.