Genetically Engineered Compound for Back Pain Falls Short, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Study

Despite the great promise that injecting a new type of anti-inflammatory pain medicine into the spine could relieve the severe leg and lower back pain of sciatica, a Johns Hopkins-led study has found that the current standard of care with steroid injections still does better. Etanercept, sold by the brand-name Enbrel, is a genetically engineered small-protein drug known as a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor (TNF). Currently, it is used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue causing pain, swelling and damage. The drug blocks TNF, a naturally produced substance that causes inflammation.

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