Areas of Collaborative Interest
- Chronic Wasting Disease
- Prion infection mechanisms
- Prion transmission
- Prion vaccinations
- Licensing available technologies
Since 1982, Dr. Hoover’s laboratory focused on the mechanisms of transmission, pathogenesis, and detection of especially feline retroviruses and more recently the transmission of the prion disease chronic wasting disease (CWD) of cervids (deer, elk, moose, reindeer). Prions are important as the cause of fatal neurologic diseases of animals and models and humans disease–i.e. bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease, BSE), sheep scrapes, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Previous research in the Hoover laboratory led to development of the first successful and most widely used feline leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccine now used to immunize cats worldwide against leukemia, and the way in which feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infects and causes disease in cats. Current work is focused on CWD, in particular: (1) the mechanisms whereby prions cross the mucous membranes and travel to the lymphoid tissues and then the brain to cause disease, (2) the mechanisms and cells involved in prion shedding transmission among deer, which appears to be much like the transmission of viruses; (3) the barriers to cross-species transmission of CWD to non-cervid species; and (4) experimental approaches to vaccination against this transmissible prion infection.