Proof-of-concept of etanercept-valacyclovir combination

October 29, 2013

On September 5, 2000,  U.S. patent 6,419,934 (inventor Tobinick) was filed, describing and claiming the use of the combination of etanercept plus valacyclovir to treat neurological disorders. The patent specification describes the invention: “TNF MODULATORS AND ANTIVIRAL MEDICATIONS: The object of the present invention is to provide clinical benefit to patients who have, or are at risk of experiencing a neurological disorder, through the use of a TNF modulator (the term modulator is used here synonymously with antagonist), either alone or in combination with an antiviral medication…….Claim 81. A method for inhibiting the action of TNF for treating neurological conditions in a human by administering a TNF antagonist …..and b) administering a therapeutically effective dosage level to said human of an antiviral agent selected from the group consisting of Acyclovir, Valaciclovir, and Famciclovir….”. On October 24, 2013, more than 13 years after the -934 patent was filed, a Canadian research group has announced that this treatment method (etanercept + valacyclovir) more than doubled the rate of survival (P=.04) in a mouse model of herpes simplex encephalitis compared with valacyclovir alone. One can only hope that funding support to further investigate these promising results will rapidly be forthcoming.