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Prions: How Will We Treat them?

Savanna Moya
Savannah Moya
Faculty Advisor(s)

Prion diseases are a type of neurodegenerative disease that fall under the broader category of “Protein Misfolding Disorders.” These include Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Unlike other protein misfolding disorders, prion diseases can be developed in three ways: inherited, infectious, or acquired. Like other protein misfolding disorders, there is no cure and no effective treatment for prion diseases. There are however several treatment ideas that are currently being researched. All prion diseases have the same misfolded protein (i.e., the prion) in common. The differences between the diseases lie in small differences in the prion and how the individual developed the disease. Some proposed treatments are targeting areas of the protein that all diseases have in common, while other proposed treatments are targeting areas that are specific to the disease. Through an extensive literature review, I have determined which proposed treatments will be able to treat all forms of prion diseases and which will only treat a specific prion disease.


Savannah Moya is from a small town in Rockingham County, North Carolina. She is a senior at Salem College and will be graduating with her B.S. in Biology in May.  Savannah was raised with a love for medicine and a fascination with the human body and the diseases that affect it. During her time at Salem, Savannah has had the opportunity to intern in a research lab looking for a new treatment for coronary artery disease. Savannah plans to continue her work in research labs as a lab technologist/technician.