Wow. A preventative measure for prion diseases? Unbelievably cool.
(via A Blog Around the Clock)
In prion diseases, which are called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, prion proteins unfold and cause plaques in animal and human brains. Transmission of prion diseases has impacted the availability and cost of blood donations, especially in Europe.
In the Lancet study, the researchers took the blood of scrapie-infected hamsters and removed the white blood cells using a device called a leukofilter. The leukoreduced blood was then passed through another filter containing the new resin particles engineered to capture the prion proteins. A group of disease-free hamsters was inoculated with the blood that passed through the leukofilter only. A second group was inoculated with the blood that passed through both the leukofilter and the prion-capture filter.
The researchers found that while leukoreduction itself removed a good deal of the bad proteins – approximately 72 percent – none of the nearly 100 hamsters inoculated with the leukoreduced, resin-filtered blood were infected with scrapie by the end of the 550-day test. Fifteen of 99 hamsters receiving leukoreduced blood not passed through the resin filter were infected with scrapie.