Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘vCJD’

Behind the picture: Proving the link between BSE and vCJD

Sometimes the most unremarkable-looking images turn out to tell remarkable stories. Katherine Nightingale spoke to Dr Jon Wadsworth at the MRC Prion Unit to find out how this humble picture of proteins contains one of the most high-profile health discoveries of the 1990s.

A Western blot of various prion disease patient samples

(Image copyright: Professor John Collinge, MRC Prion Unit, UCL Institute of Neurology)


Even for those schooled in the art of the western blot, this image might not look like much. In fact, at first glance, it may seem even less remarkable to a trained eye – just another piece of film with its ladders of proteins.

In fact, this image, taken in 1996, represents the first clear evidence that bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) had passed from cows to humans in the food chain to cause a type of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) never seen before. Read more