Tuesday, October 22, 2013

RTQuIC at Expanding Prion Horizons

As the Expanding Prion Horizons Symposium wrapped up last week we at BMG LABTECH were happy that we could sponsor such a stimulating meeting. All the talks and posters were excellent and generated lively discussion. BMG LABTECH is pleased to see the Real Time Quacking Induced Conversion (RT-QuIC) assay is being used extensively and we are glad that a plate reader like the FLUOstar Omega can contribute to the prion research field. As reported at this meeting the high sensitivity RT-QuIC is capable of detecting disease prions where western blots and immunoassays can’t, such as higher through put cell culture studies where prion protein expression is low. Furthermore, its sensitivity is at least comparable to ELISA and IHC in detecting Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in a variety of cervid species.

Representative data from BMG application note # 232

The RT-QuIC assay is being considered for use in the early detection of prion diseases. CWD can now be detected in deer saliva in as little as 6 months, which is at least one year before deer exhibit clinical symptoms. Among the prion diseases CWD appears to be unique in the amount of disease prion that is externalized. Therefore, another study used RT-QuIC to look at which tissues are affected by prions. Finally, a more wide spread early detection application may be a blood test. Indeed, a blood test was described that is a modification of RT-QuIC and is capable of detecting prion infection at the midpoint between infection and onset of symptoms.

RT-QuIC is also being used to study routes of prion transmission. One study looked at the ability of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE aka ‘mad’ cow disease) prions to infect deer and CWD prions to infect cows. Another investigated the possibility of prion transmission from mother to offspring. Clearly RT-QuIC can be used in a variety of ways and the FLUOstar Omega from BMG is an excellent tool to perform this assay.