Prions are composed solely of the disease-causing prion protein (PrPSc) that is formed from the cellular isoform PrPC by a posttranslational process. Here we report that short phosphorothioate DNA (PS-DNA) oligonucleotides diminished the levels of both PrPC and PrPSc in prion-infected neuroblastoma (ScN2a) cells. The effect of PS-DNA on PrP levels was independent of the nucleotide sequence. The effective concentration (EC50) of PS-DNA required to achieve half-maximal diminution of PrPSc was approximately 70 nM, whereas the EC50 of PS-DNA for PrPC was more than 50-fold greater. This finding indicated that diminished levels of PrPSc after exposure to PS-DNA are unlikely to be due to decreased PrPC levels. Bioassays in transgenic mice demonstrated a substantial diminution in the prion infectivity after ScN2a cells were exposed to PS-DNAs. Whether PS-DNA will be useful in the treatment of prion disease in people or livestock remains to be established.