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2008 Grants - Sadowski
Therapeutic Monoclonal Antibodies for Prion Exposure Prophylaxis
Martin J. Sadowski, M.D., Ph.D.
New York University School of Medicine
New York, New York
2008 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Prion diseases rank among the deadliest of brain disorders. They occur when prion protein, which is present throughout the brain, begins to assume an abnormal three-dimensional shape. This shape gradually triggers the protein throughout the brain to fold into the same abnormal shape, leading to increased damage and destruction of brain cells.
Prion diseases usually occur when the gene that encodes prion protein becomes mutated. In a few cases, people can catch the diseases after accidentally receiving prion-infected blood transfusions or transplants.
In preliminary research, Martin J. Sadowski, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues studied mice that became infected with abnormal mouse prions. They found that by administering prion antibodies into the mice, they could block the spread of these proteins. Antibodies bind to and help remove harmful substances in the body.
For their proposed study, Dr. Sadowski and colleagues plan to develop antibodies based on abnormal forms of human prion. They will then test the prion-blocking abilities of these compounds in cultured cells and in mice susceptible to the transmission of human prion disease.
The results of this study could lead to an antibody therapy appropriate for human clinical trials. Ultimately, such a therapy could prove a first step in developing other treatments for prion diseases.