Orthopaedic Surgery Clinical Trials

Medical advancements must undergo rigorous testing in the form of clinical trials before they can be made available for general use. Phase I and II studies assess safety. Phase III studies determine if new drugs are effective. Clinical trials represent the final stage of cutting-edge science and medicine's pursuit of improved treatments.

UCLA is conducting clinical trials in the following areas:

Treatment of knee cartilage defects

A Phase 3 Prospective, Randomized, Partially Blinded Multi-Center Study to Measure the Safety and Efficacy of NOVOCART® 3D, Compared to Microfracture in the Treatment of Articular Cartilage Defects.
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Biologic Therapy to Prevent Osteoarthritis After ACL Injury

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are extremely common. On average, 50% of individuals suffering an ACL injury will develop radiographic osteoarthritis (OA) 10 to 20 years after injury. Unfortunately, ACL reconstruction does not prevent risk of future OA.

Interleukin-1 (IL-1) levels in the human knee joint increase transiently after an ACL injury. In animal experiments, if interleukin-1 levels are increased in the joint, this alone causes arthritis to occur. Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) is a naturally occurring inhibitor of IL-1. However, in ACL injuries the balance of these two proteins is disturbed transiently after injury, with the effects of IL-1 dominating this balance. In a large animal model of ACL injury, injection of IL-1Ra into the knee joint after ACL injury significantly decreased the amount of arthritis that was later observed.

Thus, the investigators hypothesize that injection of IL-1 inhibitor (IL-1Ra) into the knee joint of patients suffering recent ACL injury will decrease the incidence of cartilage damage.
After appropriate IRB approval, a total of 48 active patients will be randomized into one of three treatment groups. Group 1 will receive removal of the knee joint fluid (aspiration of hemarthrosis) using a needle and syringe within 1 week of injury. Following aspiration of the knee joint, an injection of 5 milliliters (mls) of sterile saline (as a placebo control) will be administered. In addition, a second knee aspiration procedure and an injection of 5mls of sterile saline into the injured knee joint will be performed at 10 days post-injury. Group 2 will receive aspiration of the knee hemarthrosis as described in group 1 as well as intra-articular administration of 150mg (~5mls) of anakinra (rhIL-1Ra) within 7 days of ACL injury. In addition, a second knee aspiration and injection of 5mls of sterile saline into the injured knee joint will be performed at 10 days post-injury. Group 3 patients will receive aspiration of the knee hemarthrosis and injection of anakinra as described in group 2 as well as a second intra-articular knee injection of anakinra (150mg, ~5mls) on post-injury day 10. Thus, all patients in this randomized placebo-controlled trial will undergo two injection procedures prior to surgery.

Rather than waiting years to observe the sequelae, T1rho MRI technology will be used to compare MRI findings among patients in these 3 treatment groups as well as an uninjured control group. In addition, the investigators will analyze subjects self-reported function and pain scores as well as urinary levels of cartilage breakdown products over time. These MRI, urine and subjective outcome assessments will be obtained prior to surgery and then again at 3, 6, 9, 12 and 24 months post-operatively.
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