About Us


The center is supported by the CDC and sponsored by the American Association of Neuropathologists.

NPDPSC is the only Center of its kind in the U.S. We coordinate autopsies and neuropathologic examinations of suspected prion disease cases from across the country. Local autopsies are performed on-site, and other cases are performed elsewhere through a network of providers which the Center coordinates. 

The Prion Center was originally established in 1997 at the "Division of Neuropathology" of Case Western Reserve University by Dr. Pierluigi Gambetti.

NPDPSC collects tissue samples and clinical information from cases of prion disease to monitor its incidence and investigate possible cases in which these diseases have been acquired from other humans or animals (such as chronic wasting disease transmitting from deer to humans). 

The Center operates the nation's clinical reference lab for prion disease and performs cerebrospinal fluid as well as genetic testing. Additionally, we offer a free-of-charge MRI consultation program.

Purposes of the Center

  • Acquire tissue samples and clinical information from as many cases of human prion disease occurring in the United States as possible in order to help monitor the possible occurrence of variant CJD (vCJD) in the USA.
  • Help establish the diagnosis of prion disease by analyzing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), blood, and brain tissue obtained either at biopsy or autopsy.
  • Identify the precise type of prion disease (sporadic, familial, or acquired) by examining the prion protein and the prion protein gene, once the diagnosis of prion disease has been established.
  • Report findings to caregivers in a timely fashion.
  • Transfer the data obtained to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Departments of the individual states in order to monitor the prevalence of prion diseases in the USA and investigate possible cases in which the disease has been acquired from other humans or from animals.
  • Store tissues for future studies conducted at the NPDPSC as well as at other laboratories around the world.