Scientists find new treatment for scrapie

Dec 07, 2006

German scientists have discovered a method of treatment that appreciably slows the progress of the fatal brain disease scrapie in mice.

Researchers from the universities of Munich and Bonn, together with colleagues at the Max Planck Institute in Martinsried, used an effect discovered by U.S. researchers Craig Mello and Andrew Fire, for which they were awarded this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Scrapie is a variant of the cattle disease bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, and the human equivalent Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

Scrapie, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and BSE are among the most unusual diseases known to medical research because the pathogens are apparently neither viruses nor bacteria, being simply protein molecules known as protein prions.

What is even more peculiar: the same prion proteins occur in healthy animals, the only difference being they have an unusual shape. When there is contact with their "diseased twins" they change their shape, also becoming "diseased.

The new, complex treatment, however, will require years of study before it can be applied to human medicine, the researchers said.

They detail their findings in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: High prevalence of HCV in baby boomers presenting to ER

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

IOC defends Rio legacy amid green protests

2 hours ago

Ecological protests on Saturday dogged the final day of an International Olympic Committee executive board meeting in Rio as green campaigners slated the choice of a nature reserve to hold the golf event ...

Japan's NTT to buy German data centre operator

2 hours ago

Japanese telecom giant NTT Communications is looking to acquire German data centre operator e-shelter, as it seeks to cash in on growing demand in Europe, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Fashionable or geeky—the modern watch dilemma

6 hours ago

It's Milan fashion week, you've got tickets to the catwalk shows and an outfit to die for, but which watch to wear? A chunky smartwatch or chic ticker that can't tell the time?

Recommended for you

Listeria screening in public lavatories in Vienna

3 hours ago

Vienna's public lavatories were at the focus of a study by the Global Food Safety research group at the Vetmeduni Vienna. The researchers studied 224 public restrooms in Vienna, which are about 91 percent ...

African leaders urge Ebola 'Marshall Plan'

3 hours ago

Leaders of the west African countries worst hit by Ebola urged the world on Tuesday to back a "Marshall Plan" to help them stamp out the disease and rebuild their shattered economies.

Women with endometriosis need support, not judgement

5 hours ago

Known for years as the "career woman's disease" based on the idea that women without children develop disease in their reproductive organs, endometriosis is a painful condition thought to affect one in ten wome ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.