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Prospects for Preventative Vaccines Against Prion Diseases

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Emergence of variant type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) in humans due to infection from bovine spongiform encephalopathy contaminated beef and recent reports of human-to-human transmission of vCJD via blood transfusion have raised great concern about an epidemic of vCJD. The disease is currently difficult to diagnose during preclinical stages and requires a very long incubation period for neurological symptoms to be evident. This therefore suggests that the disease is already latently spreading and that opportunity for infection is thus growing among human populations. Interestingly, passive immunization with antibodies against prion protein (PrP), a major component of the prion infectious agents, was shown to protect mice from infection, indicating the possibility of prion vaccines. However, PrP is a host protein therefore immune tolerance to PrP has hampered development of them. Here, the so far reported attempts to overcome the tolerance to elicit protective immunity to prions are briefly reviewed.

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Keywords: Vaccine; immune tolerance; prion; prion disease; prion protein

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 March 2009

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  • Protein & Peptide Letters publishes short papers in all important aspects of protein and peptide research, including structural studies, recombinant expression, function, synthesis, enzymology, immunology, molecular modeling, drug design etc. Manuscripts must have a significant element of novelty, timeliness and urgency that merit rapid publication. Reports of crystallisation, and preliminary structure determinations of biologically important proteins are acceptable. Purely theoretical papers are also acceptable provided they provide new insight into the principles of protein/peptide structure and function.
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