The Combination of Anakinra and Etanercept Greatly Increases Efficacy of Islet Transplantation

Anti-inflammatory agents such as anakinra are used routinely in clinical islet transplantation in an attempt to improve outcomes of the procedure. Etanercept is an approved immune therapy being used to neutralize tumor necrosis factor alpha in certain diseases. This research evaluated the impact of combined anakinra and etanercept in islet transplantation using human islets in immunodeficient mice. The combination of anakinra and etanercept led to a significant improvement (30-40% better) in transplant success compared to either drug used alone in mice. This translated into enhanced blood sugar control, improved transplant insulin content and marked reduction in beta-cell specific death. These results strongly justify the combined short-term use of anakinra and etanercept in human islet transplantation.


McCall, M, Pawlick, R, Kin, T, Shapiro, AM. (2012) Anakinra Potentiates the Protective Effects of Etanercept in Transplantation of Marginal Mass Human Islets in Immunodeficient Mice. Am J Transplant. Feb;12(2):322-9.

Ramifications for Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes:

The efficacy of clinical islet transplantation can be improved with the addition of Anakinra to normal anti-inflammatory agents.

JDRF Involvement:

This study was funded in part by JDRF.