Prion disease treatment, artwork

Prion disease treatment, artwork

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Credit: RUSSELL KIGHTLEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Prion disease treatment. Artwork of three pyramidal neurons (nerve cells). The cell at left is healthy. The cell at back has died because of a prion (pink) infection. The cell at right is infected with prions and has been treated with a PERK inhibitor drug (yellow). Prions are abnormal proteins that cause a group of fatal neurodegenerative diseases including BSE in cows and CJD in humans. Abnormal infectious prions directly change normal prions found in the brain to the abnormal form and prevent the synthesis of essential proteins. This leads to neuronal death. PERK inhibitors allow normal protein synthesis to continue, preventing neurodegeneration. Such drugs also have the potential to treat Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

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