BY: ANNE STOKES
In the words of the venerable Bette Davis, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” And while with age inevitably comes aches and pains, for those suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, there are treatments on the horizon that can help.
“Over time, you lose cartilage in your joints, your knee being a pretty common one,” explains Jesika Riley, certified clinical research coordinator with Northern California Research. “It’s very painful, it can limit your mobility, walking, lifting, obviously running. It very much limits daily normal activities that you and I might think are simple, but it’s a struggle for someone with osteoarthritis of the knee.”
Current treatments for osteoarthritis include pain management–through medication or cortisone injections–and surgery to replace the knee joint altogether. Northern California Research is currently conducting a clinical trial for a new treatment that regenerates cartilage. Rather than managing the symptoms, this new treatment aims to cure the root cause of the problem.
“To have something that can rebuild cartilage is very novel, it’s very interesting, what a breakthrough, right?” says Laurie Johnson, Northern California Research site director and certified clinical research coordinator. “There’s not much out there other than the basic managing the symptoms of pain, and knee replacements have been kind of a go-to. This is something that could help (patients) not go down that route.”
To be an eligible candidate for the clinical trial, patients must:
• Be between the ages of 40 and 80;
• Have a body mass index (BMI) no greater than 39; and
• Have been experiencing moderate to severe knee pain for more than six months (although an official diagnosis of osteoarthritis is not required).
The trial, which can range from 18 months to five years, involves knee injections, regular exams and appointments to document any progress. If chosen to participate, patients are paid for their time and efforts.
“That’s at no cost to the patient, they don’t have to provide their insurance card or make a co-pay; we take care of all of that,” Riley says. “Once they’re determined to be eligible, they’ll come in to do a more in-depth screening: We’ll do vitals, blood work and EKGs. We’ll give them an e-diary for pain questionnaires.”
To see if you’re eligible to participate in this clinical study and what is involved, visit www.northerncaliforniaresearch.com or call 916-484-0500.