Chronic viral infections are characterized by a reduced responsiveness of T lymphocytes; a process also termed T cell exhaustion. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha) has been shown to be critically involved in this exhaustion process. Consequently, our invention suggests the use of anti-TNFalpha strategies, i.e. either blockade of the TNF-receptor (TNFR) binding side or its enzymatic activity by existing drugs (e.g. Infliximab, Etanercept) for the general treatment of persisting viral infections with the aim to restore T cell function. Proof for the success of this approach has been delivered by the LCMV mouse model and the in vitro treatment of HIV patients, and is in addition supported by results from studies in systems biology. On behalf of University of Bonn and University of Cologne, we are offering this opportunity for licensing. In case of interest we will be pleased to inform you about the patent status.
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