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Date:9/14/2011

known to slow prion infection in cell cultures, although it fails to protect prion-infected mice or humans. Their chemical differences from quinacrine apparently enable the two drugs to bind more tightly to toxic prion aggregates, andlike the styryl-based compoundsprevent these aggregates from assembling new copies of themselves.

"One of the trimipramine-treated mice stayed healthy throughout the 400-day study," Dr. Wisniewski says.

The National Institutes of Health funds Dr. Wisniewski's laboratory's work to develop potential prion-disease vaccines. Prion diseases in animals have been known to jump to the human population. A prion disease known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, also known as "mad cow disease") swept through cattle in Britain in the 1980s, infected humans via beef products, and killed more than 200 people worldwide.

Currently a prion disease known as chronic wasting disease (CWD) is spreading through the deer and elk population of North America. Humans are increasingly exposed to CWD, for example by eating venison, and although CWD so far doesn't seem transmissible to humans, it has been shown to infect other primates. Dr. Wisniewski and colleagues are testing an oral vaccine for CWD in deer and elk in Colorado.


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Contact: Christopher Rucas
Christopher.Rucas@nyumc.org
212-404-3525
NYU Langone Medical Center / New York University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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