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Vaccine May Protect Against CJD

04 May 2007

NEW YORK - Scientists say they have a vaccine that stops mice getting a brain disease similar to BSE in cattle and which may ultimately protect humans against vCJD.

Tight rules have been introduced to ensure that BSE-infected meat does not enter the UK food chain

Deadly prion diseases, like vCJD, are spread by consuming contaminated meat, and there is no cure or treatment.

A vaccine that decreases the spread of prion disease in animals would reduce the risk of spread in humans, says the New York University team.

It could also be considered for humans, they told a neurology meeting.

Brain disease

The diseases are caused by abnormal versions of prion proteins in the brain, which accumulate and cause brain damage, leading to dementia and abnormal limb movements.

As the infection takes hold, prion proteins invade brain tissue and force normal proteins to adopt their own misfolded shape.

Many research groups in the US and Europe are working on vaccines to block or avoid this process.

The prototype tested by Dr Thomas Wisniewski and his team was made from prion proteins attached to a genetically modified strain of a bug called Salmonella.

This bacterium is already used in a number of animal and human vaccines.

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Source: BBCnews


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