New Drug Improves Brain Function Even Years After Brain Injury

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Etanercept is a drug that has been used to treat autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis by targeting a chemical called tumor necrosis factor.

Scientists recently discovered that etanercept can also target and reduce brain inflammation that commonly occurs after a brain injury. A single dose was found to result in significant improvements in motor and cognitive skills, as well as spasticity. Furthermore, while there are several treatments being studied for the reduction of inflammation in the hours and days after an injury, etanercept was found to reduce inflammation even several years after the injury. This may become a breakthrough drug therapy for people who have had a brain injury in the past and currently have very few options for treatment.

Tobinick E, Kim N, Reyzin G, et al. Selective TNF inhibition for chronic stroke and traumatic brain injury - An observational study involving 629 consecutive patients treated with perispinal etanercept. CNS Drugs. (November 2012).