AFS’s Sam Prien receives second patent for specimen collection cup
By: Mark Hendricks
Since 1978, when the world was introduced to the first baby conceived through in vitro fertilization, the procedure has become one of the primary assisted reproductive technologies, or ARTs used by the approximately one-in-seven U.S. couples that have trouble getting pregnant.
While as many as one in five pregnancy issues can be traced back to problems with the female egg, approximately 25 percent of these cases are linked to three main problems with the male: sperm count, sperm motility (movement) and the sperm's morphology, or normal appearance.
To help address these male-related issues and raise the rate of successful pregnancies, Sam Prien, a noted professor of reproductive physiology in Texas Tech's Department of Animal & Food Sciences, and Lindsay Penrose from Texas Tech's Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine have worked for years to develop a specimen collection cup that creates a more favorable environment for the sperm.
Their efforts recently yielded a patent titled, “Method and Apparatus for Collection of Fluid Samples,” that makes important improvements to the first patented collection cup invented at TTUHSC by Prien and Dustie Johnson. That device, known as the DISC (Device for Improved Semen Collection), is sold by RSI Technologies under the brand name ProteX.
“Basically what it does is it tries to keep the sperm from thinking they've left the male body; it protects the sperm as it would be protected inside the male body,” Prien explained. “It keeps it at approximately the right temperature, and it doesn't let it get shocked by a lot of the other influences present in a normal specimen cup.”
Prien, who also has a joint appointment at TTUHSC, currently holds five U.S. patents, and 18 associated international patents and eight other pending patents. Many of these patents have been licensed and are progressing toward commercialization. His first U.S. patent was for a method of collecting and preserving semen, which was Texas Tech's first patent focused on reproductive science.
He was named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors during a special induction ceremony this summer in Phoenix. His election to fellow status is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors.
CONTACT: Chance Brooks, Interim Chair and Professor, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or email@example.com
0914NM22 / Editor's Note: For a full text version of Mark Hendricks' TTUHSC article, please click here
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