Saturday, April 4, 2009

Two New Trials to Test Kineret / Anakinra

I recently found out about two clinical trials into the drug Kineret also known as Anakinra (an Anti-Interleukin-1 treatment). A phase-I study which started in March 2008, and a phase-II study which started in January 2009. Last year there was some interest in the idea that inflammation was a causative factor in type-1 diabetes. These are the first human trials that I know of which are based on attacking inflammation to try to cure type-1 diabetes (in honeymooners only, however). This drug is already approved by the US FDA for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It has also already be used in clinical trials focusing on type-2 diabetes and some autoimmune diseases (in addition to RA).

The phase-I study is 15 kids (aged 6 to 18) who are within one week of diagnosis. The trial is scheduled to end in July 2009. It is being done by Soumya Adhikari at Children's Medical Center Dallas, Texas, United States, and is funded by their own foundation. You can read the US Clinical Trail Record here: I can find no other information on this trial on the web.

The phase-II study is being done by the Steno Diabetes Center in Denmark is testing using Kineret on newly diagnosed type-1 diabetics. The study is called "AIDA". It is multi-site, all in Europe. You can read more about it here: The study is funded by JDRF, Steno, and Oresund.

This is their description of the drug:
Kineret® is already being used in the treatment of patients suffering from arthritis and studies are now suggesting that it may also be useful for patients with Type 1 diabetes. The active substance in Kineret is interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, a blocker of an immune-signal molecule named interleukin-1. During inflammation this blocker is produced by your body to limit tissue damage caused by inflammation, and kineret is an exact copy of this naturally occurring molecule.
The study will use 160 patients, starting in January 2009 and ending (they hope) in September 2011. Half will get the drug, half placebo. After 80 patients have been followed for 6 months, they will do analysis on the available data, and decide if it is worth continuing the trial, and if it is safe to do so. I don't know if this interim analysis will be published or not. (I hope so!)

Patients will inject themselves once a day, for two years, so this is a pretty big commitment on their part. Since patients must be 18 or over, and with in 12 weeks of diagnosis, I suspect it will take them quite a while to enroll 80 people, even as they have 23 sites participating. Although the fact that it is using an already approved drug should make it easier to recruit.

The US Clinical Trial Record for this is NCT00711503, which you can see here:

There is more information on the Steno center here:

If you are newly diagnosed (less than 12 weeks), and in Europe, here is a list of trial sites:

A Little Discussion

Everyone knows that type-1 diabetics have a lot of inflammation in their pancreas and especially around their beta cells. Most researchers believe that inflammation is a result of the body's immune attack on it's own cells. That is, the underlying immune problem causes inflammation and also causes beta cells to die (which causes the symptoms of type-1 diabetes). However, some researchers believe that the underlying immune problem causes inflammation, and that this inflammation kills the beta cells, which causes the symptoms of type-1. The difference is that, in the second model, if you stop the inflammation you can stop the symptoms of type-1 diabetes (the high BG numbers and the low numbers). And that is a big difference. But this second model is still a minority opinion.

The treatment being tested should lower inflammation, so if the second model is correct, it will lessen the symptoms of type-1 diabetes, maybe remove the symptoms entirely: the body will naturally produce more insulin. In any case, one of the great things about this research, is that we should have some solid data soon. The phase-I trial should complete mid this year, the early data from the phase-II later this year, and the final data from the phase-II by year after next.

Joshua Levy


Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I hadn't heard about this research before and it is very interesting, thank you. You may be also interested to know about another human clinical trial to cure type 1diabetes in people who have the condition for a while. This human clinical trial is at the end of Phase 1 now and is led by Dr Nathan and Dr Denise Faustman in Harvard, Mass, USA. This trial involves using a previously approved drug too, in order to cure the diabetes and as I understand it, when the inflammation is cured, insulin producing cells start to produce insulin again in the pancreas by themselves. If you google Dr Denise Faustman, you will be able to read all the information in more detail.
Regards Aine in Ireland

Joshua Levy said...

I track Faustman's work closely, and have blogged about it several times. My best one is here:

It is important to realize that the drug she is testing now (BCG) has been tested before (five times, by my count) to prevent or cure type-1 diabetes. All those tests failed. Also, this drug is different than the drug that Faustman herself used to cure type-1 in NOD mice. That drug was CFA, but CFA is too toxic to give to people.

You can see a summary of all human trials aimed at curing type-1 diabetes here:

You can see how far behind Faustman is, when compared with Diamyd, ToleRx, Burt, Osiris, LCT, etc.

Joshua Levy