BY LIZA STROUT - When former Beacon writer Tim Gielau earned his state private investigator’s license a little more than five years ago, he was ready to embark on a new adventure.Five days after getting that license, on a Friday afternoon, he laid down to take a nap. When he woke up, it was a week later and he was in the hospital. The 51-year-old had suffered a stroke.
In the years since, Tim has regained the ability to walk and talk, but his right arm remains paralyzed and he has a lot of trouble speaking.
Tim recently learned of a new treatment for stroke survivors, pioneered by Dr. Edward Tobinick. Tobinick treats Alzheimer’s disease, chronic pain and others at his clinic in Boca Raton. Information on the treatment, along with videos of the results, can be seen at strokebreakthrough.com.
Tobinick uses Etanercept, a drug developed to help those who have autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. It works by interfering with TNF, a molecule that has many effects on the cells of the central nervous system, including triggering cell death.
Etanercept, known by the trade name Embrel, is not available in a generic form. The companies that market it, Pfizer and Amgen, recently received an extension on the patent period. Because of the laws in the United States regarding the class of drugs that it belongs to, the chances of it ever becoming a generic are slim, even when the patent runs out in 16 years.
The use of Etanercept to treat the central nervous system for issues such as stroke damage and Alzheimer’s disease is considered off-label, so insurance does not cover the treatment. At a cost of $7,000 per shot, the expenses mount quickly.
A trust fund to help pay for Tim’s treatment has been set up at Englewood Bank through Redeemer Lutheran Church. Donations can be made at any branch, in the name of Redeemer Lutheran. A notation must be made on the deposit that it is to go to the fund for Tim Gielau.
It is hoped that it won’t be long before Tim finally gets to continue the adventure that was interrupted during a nap almost six years ago.
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