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publicado em 06/02/2011 às 13h00:00
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Blood test can determine variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob

Prototype, 100 000 times more sensitive than any previous effort, can transform the diagnosis of brain disease

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The first blood test to determine a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) has been developed by scientists at University College London (UCL), UK.

The prototype, which is 100,000 times more sensitive than any previous attempt, could transform the diagnosis and screening of brain disease.

A variant of CJD, the human form of mad cow disease (or BSE) first appeared in 1995. Scientists believe that the neurodegenerative disease has passed from cattle to humans through contaminated food. It causes personality changes, loss of body function and eventually death.

The research team at the MRC Prion Unit, based at UCL, he worked with researchers from the National Hospital Clinic for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN) to test 190 blood samples, 21 individuals known to have vCJD.

The blood test could detect blood mixed with a dilution of vCJD within one part per ten billion - 100 000 times more sensitive than any other method developed so far.

Professor John Collinge, MRC Prion Unit's director, said that "one of the reasons for vCJD to be a dreaded disease is lack of knowledge of who is or is not carrying this infection."

The next step is to test thousands of anonymous blood donors from a country affected by BSE, in order to get a better idea of ​​how this test works in practice. Long-term studies are also needed to assess what proportion of individuals testing positive for the infection will develop the disease later in life.

"The survey was conducted in order to improve early diagnosis, essential part of the strategy to develop better treatments for patients. At present, a diagnosis of variant CJD can be done only after symptoms have developed severe disease and brain damage have been identified. "


   Palavras-chave:   Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease    Mad cow disease    Variant    Genetics    Neurodegeneration   
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