Boston University School of Medicine have discovered a key biomarker for chronic traumatic encephalopathy they hope will be the first step towards diagnosing the condition on a living person.

CTE studies have only been possible on deceased people.

Dr. Ann McKee, the neuropathologist credited with some of the most high-profile CTE diagnoses, said she was buoyed by the recent discovery, calling it “the first ray of hope” in a years-long effort to understand the disease.

“To me, it feels like maybe now we can start going in the other direction,” she said. “We’ve been going down, and everything has just gotten more and more depressing. And now, it’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to actually find some answers here.’”