By Julie RizkSource ABC News | January 26, 2019 | 09:00:00When does the program stop, and who is going to do it?
In the last few years, the crack in the brain that causes CTE has been described as “the single most debilitating disease known to man,” with a rate of death for people aged 85 or older as high as 50%.
While the exact cause of CTE remains unclear, researchers are hoping to pinpoint a molecule that may be involved in how it is caused, or at least that could explain the pathogenesis of the disease.
Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, the lead researcher on the study, says the discovery could lead to a better understanding of how CTE develops.
“If we could find a way to identify that molecule, we would be able to understand a lot more about how the brain develops,” he said.
“We could be able — and hopefully with better understanding — to make some really good therapies that might be able, if we can isolate it, to prevent CTE in people.”
In addition to the findings from the NIH-funded study, Lieberman said it is also important to point out that there is still a long way to go before scientists can actually identify and treat CTE.
“I think that the goal of this study is really to get to that point where we can say we can diagnose CTE, and then we can treat people,” he told ABC News.
“So the next step is to actually find a treatment that works, that’s safe, and doesn’t cause any side effects, and that’s going to have to be really effective, in terms of helping people.”
Lieberman said it would be very hard to target one particular molecule, but the next steps could be “in a very short time frame.”
The research is still in its early stages, but Lieberman said he was confident it could be done within a few years.
But for now, he is working on another project that will look at how the immune system may work to protect the brain.