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Blue gloved hand holding slide under microscope

The neuropathology laboratory in the NCJDRSU undertakes a wide range of diagnostic and research activities, investigating cases of suspected CJD referred from other centres across the UK and overseas. The laboratory maintains close links with other neuropathology centres across the world, with scientific, medical and technical personnel in addition to students visiting each year for specialist training purposes. The laboratory has continued to maintain an active research programme both in-house and by collaboration with other research centres in UK, Europe and across the world.

In addition to the UK CJD surveillance work, the neuropathology laboratory is involved in research, most of which focuses on the detection of abnormal prion protein deposition in tissues. We undertake vCJD screening studies in patients identified as being at increased risk of vCJD through exposure to blood products or plasma products. The laboratory is also involved as a reference centre for an HPA study on the prevalence of vCJD infection in appendix tissue samples from the UK, and in a series of international collaborative studies in relation to neuropathological diagnosis of CJD and other human prion diseases. More information on the neuropathology of CJD is provided in the link below.

The neuropathology laboratory houses the CJD Brain and Tissue Bank, which is part of the Edinburgh Brain and Tissue Bank, directed by Professor Colin Smith (see link below).  The Edinburgh Brain and Tissue Banks are part of the  MRC Network of UK Brain Banks (see link below). Our Bank  provides tissue samples to researchers working on CJD and related disorders. These samples all have the necessary consent and ethics approval for research use. Any reseachers interested in enquiring about tissue samples for their own research should contact Professor Colin Smith in the first instance:

We also act as a source of information to a wide range of professionals involved in health and safety issues relating to CJD. To contact the Neuropathology Laboratory for advice and guidance on tissue handling in CJD, CJD autopsies or PrP detection in tissues, please telephone  0131 537 3084, 0131 537 2966 or 0131 537 1982.

We are most grateful to all neuropathologists, general pathologists and their technical, secretarial and autopsy room staff for their continuing support of the NCJDRSU.  We are also grateful to the relatives of patients with CJD for allowing us to study this group of devastating disorders.