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Prion Protein Antibodies Found to Be Naturally Occurring

August 18, 2020


Transmissible forms of neurodegenerative diseases that are always fatal sounds terrifying, and almost like science fiction. Unfortunately, prion disorders like Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) are very real, but thankfully still extremely rare (only about 300 cases per year in the United States). A prion is a type of protein that can trigger normal proteins in the brain to fold abnormally, so studying the rare disorders that result can provide insights into other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, which have misfolded proteins. Now, investigators from the University of Zurich and Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research in Switzerland have reported on finding antibodies targeting the normal prion protein (PrP) molecule in individuals with no history of any associated transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.

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