Continuous intraventricular infusion of pentosan polysulfate: Clinical trial against prion diseases


Yoshio Tsuboi, MD, Department of Neurology, Fukuoka University, 7-45-1 Nanakuma, Johnan-ku, Fukuoka 814-0180, Japan. Email:


Prion diseases are progressive neurological disorders due to abnormal prion protein (PrPSc) deposition in the central nervous system. At present, there is no effective treatment available for any form of prion disease. Pentosan polysulfate (PPS) has been shown to prolong significantly the incubation period in mice with PrPSc infection when administered to the cerebral ventricles in preclinical trials. In human studies conducted in European countries and Japan, intraventricular PPS was administered to patients with different forms of prion disease and was well tolerated. We report 11 patients with prion disease treated with intraventricular PPS at Fukuoka University from 2004. Cases included three familial CJD (two with V180I mutation, one GSS with P102L mutation), two iatrogenic CJD, and six sporadic CJD cases. At present, average survival period after treatment was 24.2 months (range, 4–49). Seven cases died of sepsis and pneumonia. Subdural effusion with various degrees was seen on CT scan in most cases. Except for these, adverse effects did not occur in the treatment period. Although our preliminary study of the new treatment with PPS by continuous intraventricular infusion showed no apparent improvement of clinical features in patients with prion disease, the possibility of extended survival in some patients receiving long-term PPS was suggested.