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The protein responsible for chronic wasting disease (CWD), PrP, is notoriously difficult to identify as the disease associated form. Surveillance of CWD is very limited as the techniques available for detection are expensive and impractical for large scale surveillance. A different means of detection is needed and we successfully approached the problem using proteomics discovery tools and instrumentation.
The Lewis laboratory has identified a number of potential surrogate protein markers, or biomarkers, for chronic wasting disease. These surrogate protein markers can be used to accurately diagnose the presence of CWD much like a human pregnancy test measures the level of chorionic gonadotropin and not the actual pregnancy to give a very accurate result.
The discovery of these proteins has lead to other interesting associations beyond their application to detecting CWD. Most of the proteins identified are neurological in origin and have been studied for their role in other protein misfolding diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. One of our identified proteins has been studied as a therapy for Alzheimer's and we are in the process of establishing the funding and resources necessary to discover if it can potentially be a therapy for CWD.
More information and photo's can be found here.