On March 30, 2013, new data from the UCSF Memory and Aging Center published pointing to excess TNF as a potential therapeutic target for certain forms of dementia. In particular, elevated TNF levels were observed in the cohort of individuals examined with semantic variant PPA (primary progressive aphasia) (see Miller ZA, Rankin KP, Graff-Radford NR, Takada LT, Sturm VE, Cleveland CM, Criswell LA, Jaeger PA, Stan T, Heggeli KA, et al: TDP-43 frontotemporal lobar degeneration and autoimmune disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2013).
We note that this UCSF study follows by more than four years the initial report of rapid clinical improvement in an individual with PPA following the off-label use of perispinal etanercept (Tobinick E: Perispinal etanercept produces rapid improvement in primary progressive aphasia: identification of a novel, rapidly reversible TNF-mediated pathophysiologic mechanism. Medscape J Med 2008, 10:135).