The scientists next tested whether the technique could be used to detect prions in blood samples from 14 people with vCJD and 153 controls. The controls included healthy people as well as people with different neurological or neurodegenerative disorders, including sporadic CJD, the most common form of CJD. The assay flagged all the vCJD samples correctly.
In the second paper, a French research group described a similar approach testing a blinded panel of blood samples. That team identified 18 vCJD patients in a group of 256 samples. “Our findings, which need to be confirmed in further studies, suggest that our method of detection could be useful for the noninvasive diagnosis of this disease in pre-symptomatic individuals,” Soto says.
Early diagnosis would allow potential therapies to be tested before substantial brain damage occurred. This technique would also allow blood contaminated with prions to be detected and removed from the blood supply.New method accurately detects prions in blood | National Institutes of Health (NIH)