Creutzfeldt-Jakob, 'Mad Cow' blood test now on the horizon

September 12, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—A simple blood test for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Mad Cow disease is a step closer, following a breakthrough by medical researchers at the University of Melbourne.

Using newly available genetic sequencing scientists discovered cells infected with prions (the responsible for these diseases) release particles which contain easily recognized 'signature genes'.

Associate Professor Andrew Hill—from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Bio21 Institute—said these particles travel in the blood stream, making a diagnostic blood test a possibility.

"This might provide a way to screen people who have spent time in the UK, who currently face restrictions on their ability to donate blood," he said.

"With a simple blood test nurses could deem a prospective donor's blood as healthy, with the potential to significantly boost critical blood stocks."

Mad Cow disease was linked to the deaths of nearly 200 people in Great Britain who consumed meat from infected animals in the late 1980s.

Since 2000, the Australia Red Cross Blood Service has not accepted blood from anybody who lived in the UK for more than six months between 1980 and 1996, or who received a in the UK after 1980.

The research is published in this week's Oxford University Press journal.

Lead author Dr Shayne Bellingham said the breakthrough might also help detect other human , such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

"This is an exciting new field where we can test for conditions in the brain and throughout the body, without being invasive," he said.

The researchers' genetic testing focused on a form of cell discharge called exosomes.

If exosomes were infected with prions (the pathogen that causes Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and , commonly known as ) they were found to also carry a specific signature of small genes called microRNA's.

More information: doi: 10.1093/nar/gks832

Related Stories

Blood test for human form of mad cow disease developed

January 16, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Mad cow disease is serious business in the U.K., the human form, known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob after Hans Gerhard Creutzfeldt and Alfons Maria Jakob (CJD), who independently first described its existence ...

Recommended for you

Experimental MERS vaccine shows promise in animal studies

July 28, 2015

A two-step regimen of experimental vaccines against Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) prompted immune responses in mice and rhesus macaques, report National Institutes of Health scientists who designed the vaccines. ...

Can social isolation fuel epidemics?

July 21, 2015

Conventional wisdom has it that the more people stay within their own social groups and avoid others, the less likely it is small disease outbreaks turn into full-blown epidemics. But the conventional wisdom is wrong, according ...

Lack of knowledge on animal disease leaves humans at risk

July 20, 2015

Researchers from the University of Sydney have painted the most detailed picture to date of major infectious diseases shared between wildlife and livestock, and found a huge gap in knowledge about diseases which could spread ...

IBD genetically similar in Europeans and non-Europeans

July 20, 2015

The first genetic study of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to include individuals from diverse populations has shown that the regions of the genome underlying the disease are consistent around the world. This study, conducted ...

0 comments

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.