Sunday, December 4, 2011

Breakthrough discovery on mechanism of prion disease

Researchers from the University of Alberta doing studies on prion disease have discovered a new property of prion diseases that changes the way we think about prion diseases. While studying BSE, the researchers found that prion particles as well as bystander proteins were being destroyed in the brains of infected individuals for up to 7 months before the animal started showing symptoms. This means that the brain "fights back" more than was previously thought. Additionally, the study shows that prion diseases can change depending on the brains reaction, and might not be irreversible. If we can learn from how the brain fights off the infection for those months before symptoms appear, we may be able to gain insight into possible treatments for prion diseases.

--Sarah Kaewert

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