Preclinical evidence indicates that prion diseases can respond favorably to passive immunotherapy. However, certain antibodies to the cellular prion protein PrPC can be toxic. Comprehensive studies of structure–function relationships have revealed that the flexible amino-terminal tail of PrPC is instrumental for mediating prion toxicity. In a first-in-human study, an anti-prion antibody has been recently administered to patients diagnosed with sporadic Creutzfeldt–Jakob's disease, the most prevalent human prion disease. Moreover, large-scale serosurveys have mapped the prevalence of naturally occurring human anti-prion autoantibodies in health and disease. Here, we provide a perspective on the limitations and opportunities of therapeutic anti-prion antibodies.

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