Lab Canada

New research funding to find BSE solutions

Edmonton, AB – The Alberta government is committing $38-million to research on prions, the proteins best known for their link to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The Alberta Prion Science Initiative will build on the research already happening in the province, Canada and internationally to better understand how prions affect both animal and human health.

“This government is committed to finding a science-based solution to address BSE,” says Victor Doerksen, the province’s minister of innovation and science.

Prions are a type of protein found in humans and animals. When prions are misfolded, nerve function in the brain can be impaired and diseases such as BSE can result. This research will look at how and why “misfolding” of prions and other proteins occur. The research will also investigate the genetics, diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to prions and other proteins.

The prion research initiative will be established as an Alberta Ingenuity Centre, to coordinate provincial prion research with national efforts and also to work with experts in the US, Asia and the European Union.

A director for the centre will be recruited as soon as possible and the centre will begin operations by September 2005.