Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, Assessment of the Relevant Science

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Diseases, Biomedical and Health Research
Board: Medical Follow-Up Agency

Activity Description

The committee assessed the state of science regarding transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) and advised the Medical Research and Materiel Command (MRMC) and its Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) Office.

Specifically, the Committee was tasked to:

  • Recommend research that will best lead to sensitive, reproducible and inexpensive methods for detecting prions and in diagnosing prion diseases/TSE. This will be based on an assessment of critical technologies (current and novel) needed to detect prions.
  • Assess the status of currently available assays and their detection limits based on strains and biological system employed.
  • Assess the availability of standardized and reference reagents as well as physical facilities required to validate assays.
  • Recommend key opportunities for collaboration with foreign investigators that would facilitate the development of effective prion detection methods.
  • Assess the availability of trained investigators and specialized facilities dedicated to prion research and identify any critical gaps.
  • Assess the role that prion-diseases pose for the military force including but not limited to the military's food and blood supply.
  • Recommend relevant surveillance efforts and public health policies at home and abroad regarding TSEs in humans, livestock, and wildlife that impact on military health or that urgently require further research.
  • Provide recommendations for future TSE research.

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