Inaugural lecture of Professor Neil Mabbott: Prions - ninja pathogens and immune system hijackers
From Jenny Durkin
Prion diseases are a unique group of brain diseases in animals and humans which cause extensive damage to nerve cells in the brain, to which there is currently no effective treatment or cure. Some prion diseases can be transmitted to other animals through consumption of contaminated food. For example, food contaminated with BSE prions from cattle was responsible for the prion disease variant CJD in humans.
Soon after infection the prions first accumulate in tissues of the body’s immune system such as the spleen, lymph nodes and tonsils, before spreading to the brain where the disease they cause destroys nerve cells.
During his lecture, Professor Neil Mabbott describes his research which shows how the prions exploit certain cells and components of the immune system to infect the body, and how this information may be used to block the spread of prions to the brain.