For a long time, we thought that because of the blood-brain barrier between the brain and the circulatory system, immune cells were excluded from the brain, along with the rest of the central nervous system. And that was partly because at the time, we knew that parts of the central nervous system — including the brain, the spinal cord and the optic nerve — didn’t recover from injury. /…/ My research team at the Weizmann Institute of Science and I wanted to prove that we actually need immune cells at the site of damaged nerves [part of the central nervous system thought to be off-limits to the immune system] to reduce inflammation and help the healing process. So that year, we transplanted a particular type of immune cell to a nerve lesion and showed that these cells did in fact help with repair by lowering inflammation.
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