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The World in Medicine
December 17, 2003

UN Delays Cloning Decision

JAMA. 2003;290(23):3057. doi:10.1001/jama.290.23.3057-a

Researchers from Switzerland have discovered that prions, the hardy infectious proteins responsible for Creuzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), can be detected in skeletal muscle of affected patients. This finding, they said, suggests that surgical equipment used on patients with CJD could subsequently transmit the virus to others because the sterilization procedures routinely used for surgical implements do not destroy prions (N Engl J Med. 2003;349:1812-1820).

Using an extremely sensitive prion detection method, the researchers examined brain tissue and extraneural organs of 36 patients with sporadic CJD. In addition to detecting prions in the brain tissue of all patients, they found prions in 10 of 28 spleen specimens and in 8 of 22 samples of skeletal muscles.

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