Research being carried out at the NPDPSC (supported in part by NIH and CDC):

  • Cases of prion disease received by the NPDPSC are examined individually and in aggregate with the aim of timely detecting new or atypical cases and establishing more accurate classifications of prion diseases.
  • Study of prion diseases in animals that potentially may transmit the disease to humans, such as CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) and BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy).
  • Development and study of cell and animal models of human prion diseases to clarify the early events in the pathogenesis of human prion diseases, particularly genetically-modified mice that have the same vulnerability to animal prion diseases as humans and, therefore, serve as models for animal prion disease transmission to humans.
  • Analysis of the chemico-physical properties of the pathogenic, or scrapie, prion protein and its fragments present in the brain of subjects affected by prion diseases.
  • Development or adaptation of more advanced diagnostic tools to detect human prion diseases.
  • The utilization of lymphoreticular tissue and skin samples from humans for additional research.