Currently no treatments exist that can cure or delay the progression of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease or any other prion disease. Antibody therapies have been developed to successfully treat many diseases by targeting viruses, bacteria, or disease-causing proteins. However, earlier attempts to develop antibody based therapies for prion diseases were unsuccessful as they targeted the normal, cellular form of the prion protein only. We developed a new and highly specific antibody that recognizes only the disease-causing prion protein. In our project we will be testing if this antibody can prevent or delay the onset of disease in transgenic mice producing the human prion protein and that will be infected with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease prions.
About the Researchers:
Holger Wille, PhD
University of Alberta, Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases
Holger Wille studied Biology at the Universität Hamburg in Germany and conducted the experimental parts of his Master’s and PhD theses at the Max-Planck Unit for Structural Molecular Biology. Afterwards he joined the laboratory of Stanley B. Prusiner at the University of California in San Francisco as a postdoctoral fellow and started to study the structure of the infectious prion protein. At the end of his postdoctoral training, he became an adjunct faculty member, continuing his studies on prions in the Prusiner laboratory. In 2012, Holger joined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta in Edmonton as an Associate Professor. Now Holger’s laboratory in the Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases focuses on the structure of infectious prions and the structure-function relationship underlying their infectious nature. Insights into the prion structure are being used to develop new prophylactic and therapeutic approaches to treat or prevent these diseases.
- The Jeffrey A. Smith Memorial Research Grant, contributed by The Jeffrey and Mary Smith Family Foundation; Zoë Smith Jaye and Jenny Smith Unruh; and Mary Smith
- The Mark Garner Memorial Grant, contributed by Hannah Garner and Family and Friends
- The Harvey L. Hall Memorial Grant, contributed by Lavonne C. Hall
- The Lynda Morris Memorial Grant, contributed by David Morris and Family
- The José A. Piriz and Sonia E. Piriz Memorial Research Grant, contributed by Karla Piriz and Lauren Piriz
- The Eugene A. Riedel Memorial Research Grant, contributed by Jacqueline Riedel
- The Catherine Sparagano Memorial Grant, contributed by Marissa Tinoco and Family and Friends
- The Thomas Lord Charitable Trust
- The Strides for CJD Grant, contributed by the Families of the CJD Foundation
- The CJD Foundation Grant, contributed by the Families of the CJD Foundation