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Survey – genetic testing for prion diseases

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Here is your chance to help towards a treatment or cure for prion disease. Ionis Pharmaceuticals, a company based in Carlsbad, California US that develops antisense drugs targeting the RNA. In the past, Ionis has successfully developed antisense drugs that treat diseases such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy and TTR Amyloidosis. they are working on doing the same for prion disease.

They are currently undertaking a survey on genetic testing for prion diseases (PRNP testing) and we ask anyone from a genetic prion disease family or anyone who has undergone or considered genetic testing for prion disease to please complete the survey provided in the link below.  

Your help would be very much appreciated.

Studies Show Pomegranate Supplement Slows Neurodegenerative Diseases

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Article link- Studies Show Pomegranate Supplement Slows Neurodegenerative Diseases

Publication (pdf)- Delay of gCJD aggravation in sick TgMHu2ME199K mice by combining NPC transplantation and Nano-PSO administration    by Kati Frida, Orli Binyamina, Areen Usmana, Ruth Gabizona, Department of Neurology, The Agnes Ginges Center for Human Neurogenetics, Hadassah University Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel b Medical School, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Information provided by Professor Ruth Gabizon from Israel and studies into Pomegranate Seed Oil (PSO) marketed as Granagard.

LAY SUMMARY  of the publication:

Granagard is a nano formulation of PSO (pomegranate seed oil). PSO comprises 80-90% of Punicic Acid (omega 5) which is the strongest natural lipid antioxidant. In vivo, Punicic acid metabolizes into a specific form of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is known to be a calpain inhibitor, suggested as a treatment target for several neurodegenerative conditions. While the active components, both PSO and CLA, do not enter the brain following administration of PSO and actually also CLA, following administration of the Granagard formulation, CLA is found in the brain of rodents, concomitantly with its neuroprotective effect that cannot be found when natural PSO was administrated. Most of our prion related experiments were done in a genetic model of E200K CJD. These mice are born heathy, then start to show neurological disabilities at 5-6 month of age and from there deteriorate until a terminal state at about 12 months of age. They mimic the situation of healthy carriers since they present spontaneous disease caused by a mutant PrP. Continuous Granagard administration from birth or 3 months of age delays the presentation of terminal disease in these mice by almost 6 months. The mechanism of activity of Granagard is most probably related to the maintenance of normal mitochondrial activity even under the stress caused by abnormal protein aggregates, thereby allowing neuronal survival under disease. This is applicable to a number of neurodegenerative disease diseases as well as normal aging.

Several human studies are in process (Alzheimer’s disease (AD) ,Parkinson’s disease (PD). Preliminary results in a double-blind study shows that administration of Granagard as compared to placebo improves memory and cognition in MS patients under diverse treatments. As for CJD, we are mostly interested in delay/prevention in asymptomatic carriers of pathological PrP mutations. It is indeed very difficult to establish a proper clinical study to establish if carriers taking Granagard will get sick later or never as compared to those taking placebo. Nobody wants to be in the placebo group for years and most people don’t want to get tested for the mutation. Therefore, we are looking at this in a different manner. Since Granagard is a safe food supplement beneficial to the general public, we follow a large group of genetic families in Israel in which all/most the siblings in affected families are taking it. Then we look, with the help of the medical community in Israel, at the new CJD patients. We believe 30-50% of CJD affected families are taking Granagard regularly.

We have learned so far that
1: No symptomatic CJD patient has taken Granagard prior to diagnosis.
2: The general number of genetic CJD patients, which was around 20 per year for several years until 2017, has gone down to less than 10 in 2018/2019 and may be as low in 2020.

Obviously, this is all observational and more time is needed to establish if we had affected disease onset, but it looks very encouraging.

An opportunity to assist with prion disease research

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We are very excited to announce the launch of a patient registry for patients, family members, those at risk and those who would like to assist by being a control.

Please watch the video by Eric Minikel and Sonia Valladh announcing the launch of the prion registry at the CJD Foundation conference on 16th July 2017 in Washington DC USA . This is a collaborative initiative supported by the CJD Foundation USA and the CJD International Support Alliance of which Deana Simpson and Suzanne Solvyns are co-chairs.

Announcing an online portal to connect patients & people at-risk with opportunities to participate in prion research.

News from Prion Alliance in Boston, Massachusetts

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From Prion Alliance in Boston, Massachusetts:

Today we are proud to launch a new clinical research study with collaborators at Massachusetts General Hospital!

This study, funded by your donations to Prion Alliance, is now recruiting people at risk for genetic prion disease, and controls, to donate cerebrospinal fluid for studies of biomarkers in prion disease.

Learn more and participate: Prion Alliance sponsors MGH research study

Tedx Talk- Dr. Valerie Sim, how her curiosity brought her to discover a new way to bring science to a deeper level.

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This is just brilliant and comes from a lady who is a clinician and also a prion disease researcher and plays the fiddler like you would not believe. Dr. Valerie Sim is also a member of the Friends and Advisors Group of the CJD International Support Alliance and Medical Director of the Canadian CJD Association so is dedicated to assisting patient associations and CJD patients and families. This is the calibre of researchers we are so lucky to know are working hard to find a treatment or cure for this devastating disease called CJD or prion disease.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at