An Australian stem cell and regenerative medicine company

October 12, 2022

World Arthritis Day

Today is World Arthritis Day. Arthritis is the third most prevalent long-term health condition in Australia affecting 12.5% of Australians

There is no cure for arthritis, with treatment options largely focused on alleviating pain, including pain relief medication, arthroscopy, or joint replacement.

Thankfully, Australia is at the forefront of clinical research and trials, which is helping those living with the disease to better manage their arthritis and hopefully one day cure it. 

Leading rheumatology clinician researcher Professor David Hunter and Arthritis Australia CEO Jonathan Smithers say it’s important for people to know about their arthritis and how to manage it, and be across studies and trials for which they may be eligible. 


Although sounding contradictory to people with joint pain, physical activity has well established benefits for knee osteoarthritis. However, 90% of people with OA do not meet physical activity guideline recommendations or walk regularly for exercise.

To better assess the benefits of exercise, the Epipha-knee trial in 198 subjects will investigate individualised physiotherapist-led walking, strengthening, and OA/activity education programs.  One group of subjects will receive additional contemporary physiotherapist-delivered pain science education (PSE) about OA/pain and activity to improve patients’ knowledge. 

The trial aims to determine whether the addition of PSE is more effective than simply undertaking the individualised program alone.

Full details and how to register:

SCUlpTOR study

Professor Hunter is leading a 440-person trial into the potential modification of osteoarthritis using Cynata’s mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in people over 40 with osteoarthritis (OA) in their knees, and who have lived with moderate plus pain for several years.

Cynata Therapeutics CEO Dr Ross Macdonald says the trial is one of the world’s largest trials investigating the use of stem cells for OA. “It’s a gold-standard study: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled clinical trial designed to discover whether or not stem cell injections into the knee improve symptoms and slow disease progression to improve underlying disease and therefore quality of life,” he said. 

Full details and registration:

Unsupervised online yoga

We did a lot of it in lockdown but according to a 212-person trial, a 12-week online unsupervised yoga program improved knee stiffness, quality of life, and arthritis self-efficacy improved more with yoga than the control intervention (those that didn’t do the program). Unfortunately, the yoga didn’t improve knee pain, nor was it sustained at 24 weeks.

Therefore, those with OA of the knee should still consider other forms of pain management.

Full study details:

Thumb base osteoarthritis 

They certainly get a workout as our smartphone addiction grows. Luckily a randomised, parallel trial that compared conservative treatments with an education comparator found that combined treatments improve hand function for those with thumb base osteoarthritis.

This 204-person trial split participants with half receiving education on self-management and ergonomic principles, a base-of-thumb splint, hand exercises, and diclofenac sodium (Voltaren), 1%, gel. The comparator group received education on self-management and ergonomic principles alone. Intervention use was at participants' discretion from 6 to 12 weeks. 

The combination intervention led to improvements in both pain and function compared to education alone.

Full study details:

My Joint Pain

Education is key so Arthritis Australia has developed a comprehensive online hub designed to help people manage the symptoms of joint pain or OA enabling them to live a more active and pain free life. An evaluation of My Joint Pain, found improvements in self-management, lifestyle, and weight reduction.

Arthritis Australia CEO Jonathan Smithers says “We know that people living with osteoarthritis want more information and options to manage their condition. My Joint Pain includes a wealth of free, evidence based resources to help consumers live well with arthritis.”

Users can register to My Joint Pain to undergo a personalised risk assessment, find information tailored to their needs and access a personalised management plan that includes resources on medication, exercise, diet, lifestyle choices, pain management and healthcare providers.

Registered users can also manage and track their osteoarthritis over time by answering weekly questions to see how they are progressing