A first-in-human study to test a scaffold treatment for early osteoarthritis

Disease - Osteoarthritis, knee pain

Lead applicant - Professor Chaozong Liu

Organisation - University College London

Type of grant - Clinical Studies

Status of grant - Pending Start Date

Amount of the original award - £471,125.76

Start date - 1 October 2019

Reference - 21977

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

In severe cases of osteoarthritis, a joint replacement could be the only treatment option, which some patients are unable to undergo. The aim of this research is to test the safety and suitability of treating early knee osteoarthritis in humans using a scaffold type device to eliminate or delay the need for joint replacement.

Why is this research important?

This scaffold type device will mimic the mechanical stability of the joint and provide an environment in which cartilage can reform. This will then provide a treatment for early osteoarthritis. Previous research funded by Versus Arthritis has shown this device to be suitable for this use in sheep. The device was also used by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick of the Channel 4 TV series Supervet, where it was inserted in a pet dog to treat a large bone defect. This research is now investigating for the first time, the safety and suitability of this device in humans, specifically treating patients with early stage osteoarthritis of the knee.

This current research project is important as it could lead to patients having access to a treatment for osteoarthritis, which does not involve joint replacement surgery, and can be carried out before the symptoms become severe. This research will involve testing the scaffold type device in up to 20 patients with early stage osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients will then return periodically over the next two years, so information can be gathered using a number of tests, including physical assessments and patient health diaries.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This research could be used to inform a much larger study that looks to prove that this treatment could be used as an alternative, cost effective treatment for patients with early osteoarthritis, delaying or completely removing the need for joint replacement surgery to treat the disease if it becomes severe.