Case Western Launches Institute for Glial Sciences

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New center will focus on glial cells to treat neurological diseases

Case Western Reserve University has established an Institute for Glial Sciences to advance research into glial cells and their critical role in nervous system health and diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukodystrophies, autism spectrum disorders, Parkinson’s disease and cancer promote.

Photo by Paul Tesar
Paulus Timmerman

The new institute, housed within the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, will be led by Paul Tesar, the Dr. Donald and Ruth Weber Goodman Professor of Innovative Therapies. The institute will focus on three nervous systems: the central, peripheral and enteric.

Glial cells comprise more than half of the cells in these nervous systems and work together with neurons to ensure proper neurological function. Despite their importance to human health, there are few specialized research centers worldwide dedicated to studying them.

“As we announce the Institute for Glial Sciences, we are not just launching a research center, we are championing a vision,” said Stan Gerson, dean and senior vice president for medical affairs at the School of Medicine. “Led by the exceptional leadership of Professor Paul Tesar, we unite innovation with impact. From our laboratories to clinical application, this institute embodies our steadfast commitment to exploring new frontiers in glial sciences and driving change in the real world. “

In addition to its core scientific activities, the institute will focus on developing new methods for studying glial cells and creating new classes of drugs that target glial cells, Tesar said. The institute will also provide educational and training opportunities for students and postdoctoral and clinical fellows who would like to specialize in glial cell research and medicine.

“The Institute for Glial Sciences is a manifestation of our collective commitment to deepen the understanding of glial cells,” said Tesar. “These integral components of our nervous system have long been overshadowed, and through the institute we aim to shed light on their complexity, developing treatments that could revolutionize the way we approach neurological care.”

Tesar and his team are at the forefront of unraveling the complexity of glial cell dysfunction and its critical role in human neurological diseases. Their groundbreaking work has not only deepened the understanding of these cells, but also led to groundbreaking advances in treatments.

Their notable achievements include the discovery of two new classes of drugs: a remyelination therapy for multiple sclerosis, which the university has licensed to Convelo Therapeutics, and an antisense oligonucleotide therapy for Pelizaeus Merzbacher disease, which has been licensed to Ionis Pharmaceuticals and which will soon be put into clinical testing. 2024.

“The Institute for Glial Sciences aims to build on these achievements,” Tesar said, “spurring new breakthroughs in glial science and providing new hope for the treatment of neurological diseases.”

Tesar said the institute has already started adding faculty and staff.

“Philanthropy has been critical in getting our work to this stage,” Tesar said, “and will continue to play an even more important role as we expand to reach more patients.”

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