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Crystal Meyerett

Colorado State University

Sponsor: Mark Zabel

"Development of a Cell Culture – based In Vitro Prion Amplification Assay as a Diagnostic Tool for Chronic Wasting Disease."

Diagnosing prion diseases such as the so-called “mad cow” disease in cattle, scrapie in sheep or chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk and moose, relies on either transmitting the disease agent, know as prions, to live animals or detection of a surrogate marker for disease. Recently, a major breakthrough in prion diagnostics known as Protein Misfolding Cyclic Amplification (PMCA), conceptually similar to DNA PCR, has enabled preclinical, antemortem prion detection, but requires the use of animal products. We propose to develop a cell culture-based PMCA assay to detect prions that abrogates the need for live animals or animal products.