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From: TSS ()
Subject: Vaccine Prevents Prion Disease in Mice
Date: May 3, 2007 at 2:16 pm PST

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 1:30 PM ET, MAY 3, 2007

Media Contacts: Angela Babb, (651) 695-2789, ababb@aan.com or Robin
Stinnett, (651) 695-2763, rstinnett@aan.com.

Vaccine Prevents Prion Disease in Mice

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 1:30 P.M. ET, THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2007

BOSTON – EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE UNTIL 1:30 P.M. ET, THURSDAY, MAY 3, 2007
Media Contacts: Angela Babb, (651) 695-2789, ababb@aan.com Robin Stinnett,
(651) 695-2763, rstinnett@aan.com AAN Press Room HCC 203 (April 28 – May 4):
(617) 954-3126

Vaccine Prevents Prion Disease in Mice

BOSTON – An oral vaccine can prevent mice from developing a brain disease
similar to mad cow disease, according to research that will be presented at
the American Academy of Neurology’s 59th Annual Meeting in Boston, April
28 – May 5, 2007. Prion diseases, which include scrapie, mad cow disease,
and chronic wasting disease, are fatal and there is no treatment or cure.

The disease spreads when an animal eats the body parts of other animals
contaminated with prions. The disease causes dementia and abnormal limb
movements.

Prion is a protein that is also an infectious agent. The proteins are so
similar to proteins found normally that the immune system does not fight
them off. To develop a vaccine that would stimulate the mice’s immune
system, researchers attached prion proteins to a genetically modified strain
of Salmonella.

For the study, the mice were orally vaccinated with a safe, attenuated
Salmonella strain, which expressed the prion protein. Then they were divided
into two groups – those who had high levels of antibodies in their blood and
thus responded well to the vaccine and those with low levels of antibodies.

The mice with high levels of antibodies had no symptoms of the disease after
400 days. The mice with low levels of antibodies also had a significant
delay in the onset of the disease. It normally takes 120 days for mice that
have not been vaccinated to develop the disease.

“These are promising findings,” said study author Thomas Wisniewski, MD, of
NYU School of Medicine in New York, and a member of the American Academy of
Neurology. “We are now in the process of redesigning the vaccine so it can
be used on deer and cattle.”

Wisniewski said much more work is needed before the vaccine could be
considered for humans. “The human version of prion disease usually occurs
spontaneously and only rarely because of eating contaminated meat,” he said.
“But if, for example, a more significant outbreak of chronic wasting disease
in deer and elk occurs and if it were transmissible to humans, then we would
need a vaccine like this to protect people in hunting areas.”

He also noted that a vaccine that decreases the spread of prion disease in
animals also reduces the possibility that the disease could infect humans.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health.


The American Academy of Neurology, an association of over 20,000
neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving
patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with
specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the
brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple
sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and stroke. For more information about the
American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.

http://www.aan.com/press/index.cfm?fuseaction=release.view&release=478

TSS




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