They’re working with Physicians Research Group (PRG). The international research management organization that provides support for physician investigators conducting clinical trials within their own practices.
The first clinical trial is investigating a new treatment for people suffering with an Articular Cartilage Injury (ACI). It’s most commonly seen in young adults and those that are runners, cyclists and soccer players.
The articular cartilage covers the ends of the three bones in the knee joint to help absorb shock and allow it to move smoothly.
When the cartilage is damaged from such things as an injury or normal wear and tear, the joint surface may not be smooth anymore and cause pain.
There are two arms to this Phase III clinical trial.
“One is doing a standard [surgical] procedure that we do called microfracture,” said principal investigator, Dr. Kipling Sharpe with OrthoArizona. “Where you make very small breaks in the outer layer of the bone called the subchondral bone and the idea of that is there are cells underneath there that can turn into cartilage and allow the cartilage to fill in defects.”
“It’s not hyaline cartilage, which is what normal cartilage is, it’s kind of a scar cartilage,” Sharpe continued.
The second arm is where the cartilage cells will be harvested during the first operation and grown in a laboratory.
“Once [prepared] and ready, there is a one week window where the cells have to be re-implanted into the patient through another surgery, “ Sharpe said. “It heals and replaces the cartilage with normal hyaline cartilage.”
The trial is investigating the effectiveness of the harvesting treatment therapy.
“[The goal is to find] pain relief and restoration of the cartilage surface,” Sharpe said.
Other OrthoArizona physicians participating in the trial include Dr. Cynthia Kooima, Dr. Chris Bryce and Dr. Matt Hansen.
The second clinical trial is a Phase II hip fracture.
“The trial is for patients who had a recent acute hip fracture, surgery to repair it and are 65 and older without any major medical issues,” said Dr. William Paterson with OrthoArizona.
The trial is testing a new medication being developed to treat osteoporosis.
“It’s to determine the safety of the medication,” Paterson said.
Those who suffer with osteoporosis are more likely to break bones like in the case of someone suffering a hip fracture.
“We’re looking to see if it reduces the thinning of the bone, to see if it stops or reverses the osteoporosis,” Paterson said.
Paterson and Sharpe both like being able to participate in clinical trials because of the many people they can potentially help.
“It’s great to use the practice to do something a little different from what we do on a normal day,” Paterson said.
“Being part of the trial is satisfying because you get to be on the cutting edge of something that isn’t widely available and can be beneficial for patients,” Sharpe said.
The two trials are currently enrolling patients. If you are interested in seeing if you meet the criteria to be a participant, click here.