Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Prion Find Points Way To Test For Human 'Mad Cow' Disease

Date:
July 7, 2006
Source:
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Summary:
In the July 7, 2006, issue of the journal Science, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) describe experiments that may soon lead to a test that will enable medical science to estimate how many people are infected with the human form of mad cow disease, which can take as long as 40 years before manifesting itself.

In the July 7, 2006, issue of the journal Science, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB) describe experiments that may soon lead to a test that will enable medical science to estimate how many people are infected with the human form of mad cow disease, which can take as long as 40 years before manifesting itself.

Such a blood test could also help prevent accidental transmission of the malformed proteins that cause variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) via blood transfusions and organ transplants, the scientists suggest.

Done in hamsters, the experiments are the first ever to biochemically detect the malformed proteins during the "silent phase" of the disease--just weeks after the animals were infected and months before they showed clinical symptoms.

The scientists say that they detected prions--the infectious proteins responsible for such brain-destroying disorders as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle and vCJD in humans--in the blood of the hamsters in as few as 20 days after the animals had been infected. That discovery occurred about three months before the hamsters began showing clinical symptoms of the disease, the Science paper reports.

To detect the very small quantities of prions found in blood samples, UTMB professor Claudio Soto, assistant professor Joaquin Castilla and research assistant Paula Saá used a technique known as protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA), invented by Soto's group, which greatly accelerates the process by which prions convert normal proteins to misshapen infectious forms.

"With this method, for the first time we have detected prions in what we call the silent phase of infection, which in humans can last up to 40 years," said Soto, senior author of the Science paper.

"The concern is that if many people are incubating the disease silently, then secondary transmission from human to human by blood transfusion or surgical procedures could become a big problem," he continued. "This result is an important step toward a practical biochemical test that will determine how common variant CJD is, and keep contaminated blood and organs from spreading it further."

Creating such a test is a high priority for Soto, who is also director of UTMB's George and Cynthia Mitchell Center for Alzheimer's Disease. "We're now working with natural samples, both from humans and cattle but mostly from humans," he said. With an eye toward making a human test commercially available, Soto and UTMB recently formed a startup company, dubbed "Amprion."

"All our effort so far has been to prove the scientific concepts, so we're building this company to go into issues of development, scalability and practicality," Soto said. "We are hopeful that development of this technology into a useful blood test will be a pretty straightforward process."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Prion Find Points Way To Test For Human 'Mad Cow' Disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060707021040.htm>.
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. (2006, July 7). Prion Find Points Way To Test For Human 'Mad Cow' Disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060707021040.htm
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "Prion Find Points Way To Test For Human 'Mad Cow' Disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060707021040.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Dolphins Might Use Earth's Magnetic Field As A GPS

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A study released Monday suggests dolphins might be able to sense the Earth's magnetic field and possibly use it as a means of navigation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How To Battle Stink Bug Season

How To Battle Stink Bug Season

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — Homeowners in 33 states grapple with stink bugs moving indoors at this time of year. Here are a few tips to avoid stink bug infestations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) — Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins