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Qingzhong Kong, PhD

Grant Title: Development of ADAM8-based Gene Therapy for CJD

Location: NPDPSC, Case Western Reserve University

Grant Year: 2024
There is no treatment or prevention for the invariably fatal prion diseases, including CJD in humans. The cellular prion protein (PrP) is required for both prion replication and prion pathogenesis and yet dispensable for life or cell survival, making brain PrP-lowering a highly appealing prion therapeutics strategy. We aim to develop an effective gene therapy for CJD by assessing the therapeutic efficacy of a gene therapy treatment with a clinically proven viral vector (AAV) expressing a PrP-cleavage enzyme that can dramatically reduce brain PrP level in a well-established mouse model for CJD.

About the Researcher:

Dr. Kong earned his B.S. and M.S degrees in Biochemistry from Nanjing University in 1987 and 1990, respectively, and he completed his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Virology at the University of Massachusetts in 1996. He received his postdoctoral training in Molecular Immunology at Yale University 1996-2000, after which he joined the Department of Pathology at Case Western Reserve University as an assistant professor. Dr. Kong is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Pathology and Neurology and Associate Director of National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center at the School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.

Dr. Kong’s research interests center on prion diseases and gene therapies, including public health risks of animal prions, animal modeling and characterization of novel human prion diseases, skin prions and early diagnosis of prion diseases, etiology of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), processing of the normal cellular prion protein, and gene therapy for prion disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases. He is also working on biomarkers for Parkinson’s disease. He has served on the editorial boards of a few journals, including Frontiers in Neuroscience, Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, and Annals of Translational Medicine. He has served on multiple review panels for grant agencies and private foundations, such as NIH, USDA, MRC (UK), NC3Rs panel (UK), Alberta Prion Research Institute (Canada), Alberta Innovates (Canada), Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)(Germany), Alzheimer’s Association, and Alzheimer’s Society (UK).

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