Researchers are hoping a new cell discovery will lead to strides when it comes to future treatments for degenerative neurological disorders like ALS and multiple sclerosis.
"If this translates to the clinic and it actually is successful, it'll be a game-changer," said Dr. Benjamin Segal.
For more than 30 years as a neurologist, Dr. Segal has watched patients slowly succumb to disorders like multiple sclerosis. But now, he and a team at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center say they've discovered a new type of immune cells tested in mice, that they hope will lead to new treatments.
The treatments will be not only for those with degenerative neurological disease, but also for people suffering from brain or spinal cord damage, and even stroke.
"What we're all pursuing is better ways to make our patients function better and to reclaim lost skills and abilities," said Dr. Segal.
He says the cell tested in mice can save dying nerve cells and stimulate re-growth when nerve fibers are damaged. Dr. Segal says they've also identified an immune cell line in humans with similar characteristics that promotes nervous system repair.
The next step is to harness this cell in the lab. Researchers are hoping to one day be able to inject the cells into patients.
"There's really a tremendous potential with this new approach."