In a recent press release, Louisiana State University reports neuropathologist, Frank Bastian, has developed a method which could lead to either a vaccine for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a cure, or both.
Bastian’s breakthrough is a process to grow CWD prions in laboratory conditions. CWD is a protein prion which is both difficult to kill and difficult to culture for more than a few hours. This new technique may make it possible for researchers to one day develop a vaccine, or the means to eradicate it from the environment. The breakthrough could also benefit the cattle industry who struggle with CWD’s bovine version, popularly known as “mad cow disease,” and people afflicted with Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
CWD has become a significant threat to deer and elk herds in the U.S.Wildlife biologists are excited at the possibilities this recent breakthrough holds for managing the disease.