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VALIDATION OF PROTEIN BIOMARKERS FOR CWD
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE) diseases such as BSE and CWD have proved notoriously difficult to detect in the live animal. Current diagnostic methods, and some under development, require brain tissue from the animal to be tested and require days to be completed. The U.S. slaughters 37 million head of cattle per year making testing quite difficult when the results cannot be obtained for days. Past and current attempts to detect the prion, the infectious agent of TSE disease, have been met with considerable obstacles and are not likely a near term possibility. Considering the obstacles of detecting the prion, our group has pursued and identified nine different protein biomarkers using chronic wasting disease for test development, that can be detected to accurately diagnose the disease. These proteins, much like other known biomarkers such as human chorionic gonadotropin and prostrate specific antigen, are present when the disease is present and are not detectableat other times. Protein biomarkers show tremendous potential for detecting TSE's in that the test formats can be made simple enough to be performed by the lay person in addition to being animal side rather than laboratory based providing an answer within minutes to the slaughter house attendant or the sportsman in the field. This project is designed to validate these markers and test them on urine from infected and control animals.
USDA CRIS Project Information Link: 0217008