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Protecting the food chain from prions: shaping European priorities through basic and applied research

Protecting the food chain from prions: shaping European priorities through basic and applied research

Objective

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) started, 20 years ago, a devastating health and food crisis throughout Europe. Classical BSE is now under control as a result of the meat and bone meal ban. However, tonsil analyses suggest that there may be an alarmingly high number of asymptomatic PrPSc positive cases. Transmission through blood transfusion is another important concern, as are recent “atypical cases” of BSE. Only a profound understanding of the molecular biology of prions will enable us to control them. Thus, to understand why BSE-contaminated food causes vCJD, we need to understand how prions get into food, what happens with them in the gut, how they reach the brain, and how they initiate the chain reaction rapidly leading to death. We have formulated 7 key questions: 1) How can we avoid a new BSE outbreak, or other possible future prion infection of livestock? 2) Why did decontamination of meat and bone meal fail; is there an effective way to decontaminate feedstuffs, soil etc? 3) What is the risk of humans being infected with each of the different prion strains known thus far? 4) Which are the best strategies to implement feasible prion eradication programs? 5) How can we develop a pre-clinical prion blood test? 6) How can we identify human cases with potential secondary transmission? And 7) What is the origin of atypical human CJD cases? We will search for decisive data on the structure of PrPSc, the molecular basis of strains and species barriers, the mechanism of prion conversion, the cell biology of PrPSc, the function of PrPC, and the mechanisms of PrP-associated pathology. This information will be translated into a better estimation of current exposure risk to humans from TSE, evaluation of current intervention strategies, and development of improved decontamination techniques and prion tests. With all this, we will be able to respond to the questions formulated and thus advise the EC on TSE policy for the protection of European consumers..
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Coordinator

UNIVERSIDAD DE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Address

Colexio De San Xerome Praza Do Obradoiro S/N
15782 Santiago De Compostela

Spain

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 564 126

Administrative Contact

Martin Cacheiro Martinez (Mr.)

Participants (20)

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UNIVERSITAT ZURICH

Switzerland

EU Contribution

€ 438 124

HEINRICH-HEINE-UNIVERSITAET DUESSELDORF

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 345 874

INSTITUT PASTEUR

France

EU Contribution

€ 345 874

STICHTING HET NEDERLANDS KANKER INSTITUUT-ANTONI VAN LEEUWENHOEK ZIEKENHUIS

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 295 248

INSTITUTO NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACION Y TECNOLOGIA AGRARIA Y ALIMENTARIA OA MP

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 300 892

FRIEDRICH LOEFFLER INSTITUT - BUNDESFORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUER TIERGESUNDHEIT

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 361 248

THE HEBREW UNIVERSITY OF JERUSALEM

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 254 748

KAROLINSKA INSTITUTET

Sweden

EU Contribution

€ 345 874

THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 330 874

UNIVERSITAETSMEDIZIN GOETTINGEN - GEORG-AUGUST-UNIVERSITAET GOETTINGEN - STIFTUNG OEFFENTLICHEN RECHTS

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 330 874

UNIVERSITAT DE BARCELONA

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 378 124

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE

France

EU Contribution

€ 348 498

SMP GMBH - PRUEFEN VALIDIEREN FORSCHEN

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 153 874

THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 43 500

VETERINAERINSTITUTTET - NORWEGIAN VETERINARY INSTITUTE

Norway

EU Contribution

€ 77 375

SLOVENSKA ZDRAVOTNICKA UNIVERZITA V BRATISLAVE

Slovakia

EU Contribution

€ 239 750

SCUOLA INTERNAZIONALE SUPERIORE DI STUDI AVANZATI DI TRIESTE

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 308 374

UNIVERSITEIT MAASTRICHT

Netherlands

EU Contribution

€ 74 000

PRIONICS AG

Switzerland

EU Contribution

€ 308 374

UNIVERSITAET HOHENHEIM

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 153 874

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 222887

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 October 2009

  • End date

    30 September 2014

Funded under:

FP7-KBBE

  • Overall budget:

    € 7 904 904,60

  • EU contribution

    € 5 999 499

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSIDAD DE SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA

Spain