Postmortem Tests Detect More Mad Cows

UK - ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. have announced that its latest postmortem tests on cattle could vastly improve the sensitivity of detecting BSE by as much as 80-fold.
calendar icon 10 January 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

This improved sensitivity of existing diagnostic devices was achieved by pre-treating the samples with PRDT’s enhanced concentration technology. The results showed an added level of sensitivity to the BSE detection process, thereby reducing the risk of “false outcomes” with existing tests. This could allow for the detection of infectious prions at an earlier phase in the development of the disease, thus improving the safety of the food industry for the countries testing for BSE.

"We are extremely encouraged by these recent findings."
Dr. Peter Edwardson, Vice-President, Medical Technologies, ProMetic Life Sciences Inc.

PRDT’s concentration technology, under development by ProMetic’s BSafE Innovations Inc. division, has demonstrated its compatibility with existing diagnostic tests for BSE detection as previously confirmed through comprehensive validation testing. ProMetic’s first device using the concentration technology will take the form of a filter that will amplify the "infectious prion signal" by concentrating bovine prions from brain tissue. This stronger signal allows for a more sensitive detection of BSE in cattle and at a younger age. This is significant because most cattle going to market are less than 24 months old and current BSE diagnostic tests are unlikely to identify the disease at that age.

"Our scientists continue to make excellent progress towards the commercialization of this first device,” comments Dr. Peter Edwardson, Vice-President, Medical Technologies, ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. “We are extremely encouraged by these recent findings, as they increase our ability to leverage our prion research and development expertise, adding value to many currently available diagnostics tests for BSE."

Tests for infectious prions such as BSE are conducted on approximately 13 million out of the 60 million cattle annually in the U.S., Europe and Japan. The vast majority of these tests are performed in Europe and Japan, with less than 40,000 tests performed in the U.S.

Mr. Kym Anthony, principal of Top Meadow Farms and Chairman of BSafE says, "As this technology is developed, we will continue to see a significant step towards a more reliable tool for improving the safety of our global food supply. This product should enable us to detect BSE at an earlier stage in its development and further increase consumer comfort that the products they are consuming are truly safe. The future continues to be very promising for the veterinary applications our technology.”

Further Reading

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