Brain Patch Suspected
Of Spreading CJD


TORONTO - The use of human tissue during surgery is putting Canadians at risk of contracting brain-wasting Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, researchers say.
What has them concerned is a patch of tissue called dura matter, taken from human cadavers and used to seal incisions during brain surgery.
"We estimate that probably somewhere between two and 400 grafts per year are used in Canada," says Richard Moulton of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society.
Moulton says his group believes the tissue patch should be banned to reduce the risk of accidental transmission of CJD.
Human dura matter is believed to have caused more than 114 cases of CJD worldwide, including four in Canada.
At age three, Dominique Roy-Regimbald underwent surgery in Montreal to remove a brain tumor. To repair the brain membrane, doctors used a Lyodura patch made in Germany.
Dr. Neil Cashman
Dominique's family believes the patch carried the infectious agent that caused him to develop CJD. He died of the disease in 1999, at age 14. Health Canada had warned hospitals of the risk one year before Dominique's surgery.
"There are people in Canada who have received it after the warning," says Dr. Neil Cashman, a CJD researcher at the University of Toronto.
Written by CBC News Online staff

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