Winter
2012

Discovery

Researchers Indentify New Biomarker for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Researchers Indentify New Biomarker for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

School of Medicine researchers have identified the first disease-specific biomarker for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD).

Neena Singh, MD, PhD, professor of pathology, and colleagues found that levels of the irontransport protein transferrin (Tf) are significantly decreased in the cerebrospinal fluid of sCJD patients. Using Tf in tandem with the currently used, non-disease-specific biomarker T-tau leads to a more accurate diagnosis, Singh says.

There is no cure for sCJD, a fatal, degenerative brain disease, and the only definitive diagnostic test requires brain tissue obtained by a biopsy or after death. The new biomarker could help scientists develop a test to diagnose sCJD while the patient is still alive—a critical step in preventing the spread of the disease.