Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes joints to become painful and stiff and is the most common type of arthritis affecting approximately 8.5 million people in the UK.
Throughout life our joints are exposed to constant level of wear and tear and in most cases, the body naturally heals this damage without experiencing any symptoms. However, in osteoarthritis, the protective cartilage on the ends of our bones which helps to cushion and ‘shock absorb’ undue mechanical stresses, breaks down and this can cause pain, inflammation and ultimately reduces the mobility of the joint.
The exact causes of osteoarthritis are not known, but there are several factors that may increase the risk for developing this condition, such as: joint injury; secondary arthritis (e.g., rheumatoid arthritis or gout); age; family history; and obesity. To read more about the impact of osteoarthritis, click here.
What are my current treatment and support options?
As yet there is no cure for osteoarthritis, but this does not necessarily mean that the condition will worsen over time. The three main treatment options to manage osteoarthritis symptoms as highlighted by the NHS are:
Lifestyle measure – such as maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly
Medication – to relieve your pain
Supportive therapies – to help make everyday activities easier
These treatment options can be provided or advised on either individually or in combination by your GP, consultant or physiotherapist. If you would like to read more on the NHS osteoarthritis treatment guideline, click here.
However, as previously stated there is currently no cure and for many, therapy options such as medications do not provide complete relief from pain and discomfort caused by this condition. Common therapeutic options such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and opioids have been shown to relieve mild to moderate chronic pain, but their use is limited due to safety concerns including gastrointestinal erosion and more rarely bleeding or perforated ulcers with NSAIDs; and drowsiness, constipation, respiratory depression, and dependence with opioids.
What research options are out there?
St Pancras Clinical Research (SPCR) is now enrolling patients for AstraZeneca’s study exploring the management of painful knee osteoarthritis with a medication called MEDI7352. This medication is a bi-specific fusion protein which is being developed with the goal of reducing systemic and local NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) and TNFα (Tumour Necrosis Factor alpha) concentrations related to joint inflammation to more effectively treat chronic painful conditions such as osteoarthritis.
This Phase IIb study, being conducted in countries across the world, is looking at different doses of MEDI7352 and compare these with a placebo to determine the dose that provides the most efficacious pain relief in knee osteoarthritis. The study will require up to 14 visits to our London Barbican site over a period of 10 months.
We work together with you and your family to ensure you are aware of the commitments and all aspects of the study before taking part. If you get in touch with us about taking part in research, one of our experienced team will have a confidential phone chat to discuss the study and that your suitability based on medical history, diagnosis and current medications. If suitable and you would like to go ahead, we would then invite you for a Patient Information Visit to meet the clinic team, discuss the study in more detail and have the opportunity to ask any questions and raise any concerns you might have. For more information on this process, you can read our Patient Journey article, our FAQ’s, or our Introduction to Clinical Trials article.