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Development of a Biochemical Diagnosis for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 4R42NS079060-02
Agency Tracking Number: R42NS079060
Amount: $1,003,770.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NINDS
Solicitation Number: PA11-097
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2013
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
1302 WAUGH DR, STE 842
HOUSTON, TX 77019-3908
United States
DUNS: 12930655
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (858) 999-4413
Business Contact
Phone: (858) 999-4413
Research Institution
HOUSTON, TX 77225-
United States

 () -
 Nonprofit College or University

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Human prion diseases are infectious and invariably fatal forms of neurodegenerative diseases, including sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common form, and variant CJD (vCJD) which is associated to consumption of cattle meat infected by bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Currently there is not sensitive, objective and non-invasive biochemical diagnosis for these diseases, and even less a procedure to detect people incubating the disease in the pre-symptomatic period. This is a major problem for public health, because prion diseases are known to transmit iatrogenically between human-to-human and because due to the long pre-symptomatic stage of the disease-which may span five decades-the asymptomatic carriers far outnumber the clinically affected individuals. To make the situation even more complicated, the infectious agent responsible for these diseases, termed prion, is composed exclusively of a conformationally altered form of a naturally occurring protein, named PrPSc, which has the unique ability to infect individuals and propagate in the body without the need for genetic material. PrPSc is not only the infectious agent and the likely culprit of neurodegeneration, but also the best surrogate marker for the disease. The challenge is that its quantity is high only in the brain at late stages of the disease However, compelling evidences indicate that PrPSc is present in minute amounts in various peripheral tissues and biological fluids. The main goal of thisproposal is to develop a blood- and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-based detection assay for PrPSc associated with sCJD and vCJD. Our strategy utilizes two pioneering proprietary technologies developed in our lab: First the protein misfolding cyclic amplification (PMCA) technique which enables to amplify the amount of PrPSc present in the sample to detect as little as a single molecule of PrPSc. PMCA, has a similar power of amplification as PCR and allowed us to detect, for the first time, prions in blood and urine, even at the pre-symptomatic stages of the disease. Second, PrPSc-specific monoclonal antibodies (called PrioC) raised against prion-infected brain homogenates in PrP knock out mice. In this project we will optimize a technology combining PMCA amplification of PrPSc with detection by sandwich ELISA using the PrioC conformational antibodies. The assay will be optimized using animal and human samples for high throughput detection of prions in biological fluids, and will be validated for sensitivity and specificity according to the requiremets of the regulatory authorities with the aim to obtain approval for commercialization. The results generated in this project may lead to the first biochemical test validated for the diagnosis of CJD. With this validatedtechnology, Amprion will establish an International Reference Laboratory for the Detection and Eradication of human prion diseases. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Development of a biochemical assay for the sensitive, early and non-invasive detection ofprions in biological fluids of patients affected by human prion diseases is a top medical priority to decrease further spreading of these infectious diseases and to help efficient treatment. This project combines two pioneer technologies to produce an assay that has the unique possibility to detect prions in blood and cerebrospinal fluid of patients and even in asymptomatic carriers of infectious prions. In this project we have put together the relevant technical and business expertise, secured the availability to key samples and already began working with regulatory authorities to get the successful validation and approval of the test.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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