Monday, February 14, 2011

The Fore and a Treatment for Mad Cow Disease

Although the cannibalistic practices of the Fore tribe were banned in the 1950s (presumably as a precaution against kuru), the native people had developed a mutation which protected against the disease. Scientists discovered G127V, a mutation which prevents misfolded prions from attaching themselves to other healthy prions, and therefore preventing the spread of the disease throughout the brain. This is an exciting discovery, because researchers and scientists can work with this mutation to possibly develop a treatment or cure for the disease. Scientists can discern the point where the bad prions attach to the good ones, and therefore can figure out what area of the brain and at what stage they need to target for treatment development.

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