Innovation Anthology

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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #284
Program Date: 01/19/2010
Program Category: Environment, Genomics, Health and Medicine, Life sciences, Prions, Waste Management

Ozone Research Holds Promise for Prion Decontamination

Decontamination is a huge issue for prion researchers.

The misfolded prions that cause mad cow and chronic wasting disease are almost indestructible by traditional means.

But according to Dr. Norm Neumann of the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, experiments with advanced oxidation and ozone treatment may hold some promise.

DR. NORM NEUMANN: The pathological disease as we know it is caused by a misfolded protein causing another normal protein to misfold. And so there’s this chain reaction that goes on. Some of the work that we’re doing demonstrates that ozone can actually destroy that protein enough to inactivate the templating properties or the pathological process that we see. So we see that in a test tube. And the big question for us now is can we begin to understand this and model it in an engineering context and understand complete destruction of this. And then cross validate that information in animal infectivity models.

Dr. Neumann suggests that if the advanced ozone treatment works, we may one day be able to dispose of prion infected material through composting.

Thanks today to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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Dr. Norm Neumann, Associate Professor, University of Alberta

Dr. Norm Neumann, Associate Professor, University of Alberta


  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
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