In Vitro Detection of Prions in Blood

At a Glance

Researchers at Colorado State University have patented and patent pending techniques and methodologies to improve the sensitivity and specificity of prior amplification and detection techniques, while maintaining fast, sensitive and consistent assays for the detection of blood-borne prions.

Consistent and reliable results indicate detection of blood-borne prions in whole blood from prion-infected white-tailed deer, muntjac deer, and Syrian hamsters, attain sensitivity of >90% while maintaining 100% specificity.

Background

Blood-borne transmission of infectious prions during the asymptomatic or pre-clinical stage of disease occurs for both human and animal transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). The geographical distribution of the cervid TSE (chronic wasting disease “CWD”) continues to spread across North America and the prospective number of individuals harboring an asymptomatic infection of human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD) in the United Kingdom continues to climb.

Current filtration methodologies are unable to remove 100% of TSE infectivity. In addition, recent reports have revealed that approximately 1 in 3000 residents in the United Kingdom may be asymptomatic carriers of vCJD as a result of the BSE epidemic. Thus, concern exists that a secondary outbreak of vCJD may ensue involving blood-borne prion transmission originating from individuals unknowingly carrying a subclinical prion infection.
While traditional assays, such as Western blot and immunohistochemistry (IHC), are effective for detecting large quantities of prions present in nervous and lymphoid tissue, they do not have the ability to detect the minute quantities thought to be present in bodily fluids or peripheral tissues early in infection.

While traditional assays, such as Western blot and immunohistochemistry (IHC), are effective for detecting large quantities of prions present in nervous and lymphoid tissue, they do not have the ability to detect the minute quantities thought to be present in bodily fluids or peripheral tissues early in infection.

Overview

This innovation utilizes RT-Quic to screen blood samples to detect the presence of prions. This methodology is unique in that there is no other assay which can detect prions in blood. This becomes advantageous as to show that prions are trafficked throughout the body via blood which has implications for both human and animal health.

Benefits

  • No other test for prions in blood currently exist
  • Enhanced specificity and sensitivity to detect small quantities of prion tissue

Applications

  • Diagnostic for prion diseases for wildlife
  • Diagnostic for human prion diseases presymptomatically
Last Updated: October 2022
MRI image of patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease
Opportunity

Available for Licensing
TRL: 5

Inventors

Edward A Hoover
Candace K Mathiason

Reference Number
14-012
Licensing Manager

Steve Foster
Steve.Foster@colostate.edu
970-491-7100