2022 - Year in Review

Researchers investigate if stem cells can reverse osteoarthritis damage NSLHD researchers are conducting a large-scale clinical trial pioneering the use of stem cells to treat and potentially cure osteoarthritis.

The disease is now one of the leading causes of disability in the world, affecting around three million people in Australia alone. RNSH rheumatologist Professor David Hunter is leading the two-year trial, which is recruiting around 400 participants aged over 40 who have painful osteoarthritis in their knees. Participants will receive three injections over a 12 month period, with researchers assessing levels of pain, physical activity and quality of life throughout the trial.

David, a world-leading researcher based at the Kolling Institute, said the team was evaluating whether stems cells can alleviate symptoms, and importantly, modify the underlying disease. “We believe stem cells likely have the capacity to regulate inflammation, and hopefully through that process allow the joint to repair itself,” he said. “What we’re hoping to do is reduce inflammation in a part of the knee joint known as the

synovium, and by doing so, reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. “We will also be examining whether the stem cell therapy can slow and even reverse the progression of the disease.” The study follows some small trials which indicated stem cell therapy may reduce inflammation and help the body repair cartilage. These earlier studies found that injecting stem cells into the affected joint not only reduced the pain, but repaired the damage caused by osteoarthritis.

Dr Sarah Robbins from the Osteoarthritis Research Group Professor David Hunter

25 NSLHD 2022 Year in Review

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