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Prion Diseases

John Corradi corradj at rockvax.rockefeller.edu
Fri Apr 5 13:55:20 EST 1996

In article <pitharat.131.012C5CE5 at sas.upenn.edu>, pitharat at sas.upenn.edu
(Prat Itharat) wrote:

> There is still some debate as to the direct method of transmission in this 
> case.  Natives could have been afflicted by handling infectious body parts 
> [ie, prions entering through broken skin] and not necessarily by digesting.
> Evidence also suggest that CJD was acquired by infectious GH treatment
> [now, recombinant treatment can be used], corneal transplants, and contaminated
> neurosurgical equipment.

You make very good points.  Stan Prusiner just spoke here on Tuesday, and
was asked about prions getting across the intestinal epithelium.  I don't
think he was able to answer to anyone's satisfaction.  However, there is
still a pretty strong connection between ingestion of nervous tissue and
disease both in BSE and kuru.  You would have to argue that all the natives
(the More? Bore?) and cows and sheep that are affected contacted infected
material with open wounds - seems less likely to me.  There's still a lot
of mystery here.  While the prion injection experiments (more consistent
with GH treatment and transplants) support the role of prions as a
causative agent, they don't explain the mechanism of actual transmission in
the other cases.  

John Corradi                      |   The opinions expressed above are my 
The Rockefeller University        |   own and do not represent...blah,
corradj at rockvax.rockefeller.edu   |   blah, blah.

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