The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Overview of Prion Diseases. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1997 for his discovery of prions and the diseases they cause. The word “prion” was coined by Dr. Prusiner. It was derived from a combination of PRoteinaceous and infectION to form a new word, prion.  A prion is a misfolded protein that has the capability of causing other prion proteins to also misfold and self-replicate. This abnormally shaped protein (prion) does not serve any function and cannot easily be removed. The misfolded prion is usually abbreviated PrPRes (for resistant to enzyme degradation) or PrPSc (for scrapie form, since scrapies was one of the diseases first linked to prions).