proteinaceous infectious particles; causative agents of Creutzfeldt-Jakob and new-variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; very highly resistant to destruction by high-pressure steam and other methods of sterilization
Now that we have found that preventing prion infection is possible in animals, it's likely feasible in humans as well," says senior study investigator and neurologist Thomas Wisniewski, MD, a professor at NYU Langone.
Unlike infectious agents in other difficult-to-treat infectious diseases, prions exhibit an unusually high level of resistance to common sterilization methods and disinfection methods, including steam, and pose a threat to infection prevention in healthcare facilities.
Prion protein is a natural cellular protein that can become misfolded into infectious particles and cause bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or "mad cow disease") and a lethal variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans.
The theory is that when contaminated food is eaten, the infected prions pass undigested through the gut wall into areas of specialised lymphoid tissue, called Peyer's patches, where they multiply and spread to the central nervous system.
Coker presented research results on the ability of the filter to remove all types of prions from red cells including scrapie (a TSE affecting sheep); mouse infected with human variant CJD (mvCJD) and human sporadic CJD (sCJD).
Prion diseases, or Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, are degenerative diseases of the nervous system caused by transmissible particles that contain a pathogenic isoform of the prion protein, a normal constituent of cell membranes.