Babies Sought for Diabetes Prevention Study


By: Jan Chait

A multinational 10-year study, known as the Trial to Reduce Insulin-Dependent Diabetes in the Genetically at Risk (TRIGR), is enlisting the participation of newborns who have a parent or sibling with type 1 diabetes.

TRIGR is the first diabetes trial that will assess the relationship of infant formula consumption to the likelihood of developing type 1 diabetes in genetically susceptible infants. Its results could lead to early interventions, before babies develop antibodies that signal the beginning of an autoimmune attack that destroys the insulin-creating islet cells in the pancreas.

The study, which encourages and emphasizes breast-feeding, will compare several groups of breast-fed babies. When the babies are weaned, or if an infant needs supplementation, the diet of one group will be supplemented with a study formula called Nutramigen, a hydrolyzed cow’s milk-based formula, in which the protein casein is broken down into smaller molecules, which are likely to be too small to stimulate the immune system. Another group of infants will supplement with Enfamil, a standard cow’s milk-based formula (not hydrolyzed).

Researchers in Canada have shown that hydrolyzed cow’s milk formula reduces the incidence of type 1 diabetes in diabetes-prone rats and mice by as much as 80 to 90 percent. They speculate that the absence of intact protein in the formula may be the reason.

If you are interested in having your baby participate in the TRIGR study, contact Peggy Franciscus, RN, at (412) 692-5250 or by e-mail at m_franciscus, before or immediately after the baby’s birth. For more information on the TRIGR study, log on to

The following U.S. sites are involved in the study:

St. Louis, Missouri

  • St. Louis Children’s Hospital
  • Washington University

Seattle, Washington

  • University of Washington

New York, New York

  • Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center
  • Columbia University

Los Angeles, California

  • Mattel Children’s Hospital, Divisions of General Pediatrics and Neonatology
  • University of Southern California

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

  • Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • University of Pittsburgh

Puerto Rico

  • San Luis Hospital
  • Ponce University



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