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Diabetes Care. 2009 Jul;32(7):1244-9. doi: 10.2337/dc09-0054. Epub 2009 Apr 14.

Etanercept treatment in children with new-onset type 1 diabetes: pilot randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA.



To gather preliminary data on the feasibility and efficacy of etanercept therapy to prolong endogenous insulin production in pediatric patients with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes.


This was a 24-week double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study conducted at the Diabetes Center, Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo. Eighteen subjects (11 male and 7 female, aged 7.8-18.2 years) were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or etanercept. Inclusion criteria included age 3-18 years, GAD-65 and/or islet cell antibody positivity, A1C >6%, three insulin injections per day, white blood cell count 3,000-10,000, platelets >100,000, and normal liver and renal function. Intention-to-treat analysis was used.


A1C at week 24 was lower in the etanercept group (5.91 +/- 0.5%) compared with that in the placebo group (6.98 +/- 1.2%; P < 0.05) with a higher percent decrease from baseline than in the placebo group (etanercept 0.41 +/- 0.1 vs. placebo 0.18 +/- 0.21; P < 0.01). The percent change in C-peptide area under the curve from baseline to week 24 showed a 39% increase in the etanercept group and a 20% decrease in the placebo group (P < 0.05). From baseline to week 24 insulin dose decreased 18% in the etanercept group compared with a 23% increase in the placebo group (P < 0.05). Seventeen patients completed the study, and none withdrew because of adverse events.


In this small pilot study, treatment of pediatric patients newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes with etanercept resulted in lower A1C and increased endogenous insulin production, suggesting preservation of beta-cell function. A larger study is needed to further explore safety and efficacy.

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