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Telling Collaborates in FDA Initiative
for Prion Disease Research

By Jennifer Bonck

 

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Telling, in collaboration with Edward Hoover of Colorado State University, will study the intricacies of CWD infection in deer and elk. Future diagnostics and therapies may result from these studies.

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Lexington, Ky. (Nov. 25, 2002) -- Glenn Telling, associate professor, Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, will be integral to two studies commissioned by the Food and Drug Administration to explore the human health risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD), part of a comprehensive initiative to fight the spread of the disease in deer and elk herds across the United States.

Telling, in collaboration with Edward Hoover of Colorado State University, will study the intricacies of CWD infection in deer and elk. Future diagnostics and therapies may result from these studies. The researchers also hope to better understand the entire spectrum of disease transmission and under what circumstances CWD might be transmitted to other species. A possible vaccine to prevent the spread of CWD in deer and elk will also be investigated.

CWD is one form of a group of fatal brain diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). These diseases include "mad cow" disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. TSE disease is indicated by an accumulation of abnormal prion proteins in the brain, disfigured versions of the normal prion proteins found on the surface of brain cells.

CWD is afflicting deer and elk throughout the nation. Scientists do not yet know if elk or deer with the disease might also transmit some form of TSE disease to human beings, through consumption of meat from, or close contact with, infected animals. CWD is spreading over a wider geographical area in the U.S., and answering this question is of critical public health importance.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) budget is committed to doing just that. Overall, the HHS has proposed spending more than $29.2 million in fiscal year 2003 to expand research efforts to combat the growing threat of prion diseases.


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