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Paper on new measurement standards for BSE tests published


More than 11 million rapid BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy i.e. the mad cow disease) tests are carried out annually in hundreds of laboratories in the European Union. In the EU, the performance of these tests is evaluated by IRMM. The evaluation of new rapid BSE tests and quality control of approved ones, though, depend on the availability of suitable measurement standards i.e. reference materials.

A paper by Wolfgang Philipp of IRMM and co-authors, published in the March issue of Biological Chemistry, demonstrates that BSE-infected transgenic mouse brains can generally be used for the assessment and the quality control of rapid BSE post mortem tests, and that these tissues represent a renewable and economically feasible source of reference materials. This way, two major problems - the scarcity of naturally BSE infected brain tissues and the heterogeneous distribution of prions in brainstems of infected cattle - can be avoided.

The laboratories of Nobel Prize winner Stanley Prusiner, the San Francisco based company InPro Biotechnology, IRMM, and BSE test developers participated in this international study.

Philipp, W. et al., Transgenic mouse brains for the evaluation and quality control of BSE tests, Biological Chemistry 388 (2007) 349-354

Source: Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements (IRMM)