Innovative Drug Therapy Offers Hope after Brain Injuries

Dr. Edward Tobinick, founder of the Institute of Neurological Recovery, is the lead author of an observational study in the journal CNS Drugs that provides clinical data supporting the effectiveness of etanercept for improving neurological function following a traumatic brain injury or stroke. The researchers examined 629 individuals treated over a 24 month period. Of the study’s participants, 617 received treatment an average of 42 months after they suffered a stroke and 12 received treatment an average of nearly 10 years following brain injury. The length of time between the event that caused the original injury and the administration of the drug therapy meant the researchers could largely discount spontaneous recovery.

The study focuses on an innovative drug called etanercept, which works by binding to and neutralizing a specific inflammatory molecule called TNF. The drug was delivered to patients using a novel method designed by Dr. Edward Tobinick. The researchers observed many positive effects following the administration of etanercept, including statistically significant improvement in cognition and motor impairment in both the stroke and traumatic brain injury groups.

The findings appear under the title Selective TNF Inhibition for Chronic Stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury—An Observational Study Involving 629 Consecutive Patients Treated with Perispinal Etanercept.


A Study on the Impact of Etanercept on Neurological Dysfunction

A graduate of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Edward Tobinick has three decades of medical experience. He is the founder of the Institute of Neurological Recovery (INR), a center that has pioneered new approaches for a number of neurological disorders. In 2012, Dr. Edward Tobinick and INR broke new ground with the publication of a study exploring a new potential treatment option for patients with chronic neurological dysfunction after a stroke or traumatic brain injury.

Spanning two years, the observational study reported the clinical results of etanercept utilized for 629 patients, 617 of whom were treated a mean of about three and a half years after experiencing a stroke. The remaining 12 patients had suffered other brain injuries a mean of nearly ten years prior to treatment. In a method developed by Dr. Tobinick, the treatment was administered by delivery into the perispinal area drained by Batson’s Plexus, the maze of veins surrounding the spine. The patients were then tilted head-down to increase the gravitational pressure in the blood column. When examined after treatment, patients showed statistically significant improvement in a variety of areas, including spasticity and motor impairment.

Etanercept binds to and inactivates excess levels of a protein called Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF). Etanercept is typically used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, other forms of arthritis, and psoriasis, all disorders associated with excess TNF. This observational study suggests that brain inflammation, mediated by the cytokine TNF, plays a significant role in the chronic neurological dysfunction that may follow stroke or traumatic brain injury.

For further information, please see:

1. The full-text of the observational study, available at this link:
2. The Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) cover story regarding several patients treated at the Institute of Neurological Recovery in Boca Raton, Florida with perispinal etanercept following stroke, by Nicole Brochu, entitled “Boca doctor gives stroke survivors new shot at mobility, independence”, available at the following link: