The ‘wear-and-tear’ effect and knee pain

Is knee osteoarthritis slowing you down? Do you find it difficult to walk long distances or climb stairs? Have you been suffering from chronic knee pain?

If you answered yes to these questions, you’re not alone. Knee osteoarthritis is a common condition for millions of people1.

Daily walking, bending and standing is hard on our joints and can cause damage. Most of the time, our body repairs this damage before it affects the cartilage. But once the cartilage is damaged, it cannot repair itself. This is why people with osteoarthritis experience progressive worsening of their joints.

Damaged cartilage results from the ‘wear-and-tear’ effect and causes the pain and stiffness that many experience with osteoarthritis.

Current treatments available for knee osteoarthritis only focus on symptomatic relief. In some cases, knee replacement surgery is required. However, these options don’t target the root cause of osteoarthritis, so a different approach to treating the condition is needed. This program of clinical trials includes investigational drugs that will target cartilage regeneration and preservation, as well as pain and inflammation reduction. 

How might we be able to treat knee osteoarthritis?

Knee close up

Cartilage is a tough tissue found in many areas of the body. It has several functions.

Legs with bones

It covers the surface of joints, helping them move smoothly and without pain.

people with osteoarthritis

In people with osteoarthritis, this cartilage is damaged which can lead to pain and restricted movement.

damage in both knees

When cartilage is damaged, the number of stem cells within it increases.


Different investigational drugs will be researched during this program of clinical trials, targeting:

Regeneration and Preservation

Some participants will receive an investigational drug designed to work by targeting the increased number of stem cells that result from damaged cartilage. The trial team will investigate to see if these stem cells will then develop into different cells that will help repair and regenerate the damaged cartilage.

Pain Reduction and Anti-Inflammation

Some participants will receive an investigational drug designed to work by reducing the inflammation, pain and cartilage degeneration associated with knee osteoarthritis.


What will taking part involve?

Participation in one of the interventional clinical trials in this program will last from approximately 5 months to just over a year, depending on which trial a person joins. Each trial consists of three parts, as outlined below:

We’ll carry out some tests to see if you’re eligible for a trial.

Depending on which trial you join, you will be randomly assigned to receive either an investigational drug, placebo, or an approved drug. Your study doctor will explain this in more detail, should you take part.

We’ll continue to monitor your health and condition.

Who can take part?

Trial eligibility Yes checkbox in blue square icon


To take part in one of these clinical trials, in addition to other criteria, potential participants must:

  • Be between 40 and 80 years old
  • Weigh at least 50 kg and have a body mass index (BMI) between 18 and 40
  • Have a diagnosis of tibiofemoral knee osteoarthritis in one knee


Trial Eligibility No cross mark in blue square icon


In addition to other criteria, potential participants must not:

  • Be pregnant or nursing (or planning to become pregnant or nurse during the trial)
  • Have a known autoimmune disease with associated joint inflammation, infection of the joint, Lyme disease involving the knee, systemic cartilage disorder or known systemic connective tissue disease
  • Be unable to undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans

For full eligibility criteria of each trial, please visit:

Participation in clinical trials is completely voluntary.

See if you’re eligible

How will each participant’s health be monitored?

Participants will need to visit the study clinic regularly. This is so that we can administer their assigned trial treatment and monitor their general health and knee osteoarthritis with assessments such as:

Blood tests, blue syringe icon

Blood tests

Urine tests, blue test tube icon

Urine tests

Skin prick testing, blue microscope icon

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Vital signs, blue heart icon

Vital signs

Electrocardiograms (ECGs), blue heartbeat icon

Electrocardiograms (ECGs)

Stethoscope Icon

Knee OA assessment

Questionnaires, blue writing on sheet icon


About Clinical Trials

Smiling female doctor reassuring a smiling male clinical trial participant by patting him on the shoulder in a supportive manner.

What is a clinical trial?

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people take part in clinical trials (also known as clinical studies). These are carefully controlled scientific investigations that help us improve medicine all around the world. They help us discover:

  • Alternative ways to diagnose conditions
  • Alternative ways to treat conditions
  • Alternative ways to track the progress of conditions

Clinical trials must be approved by regulatory boards before they can begin. These boards work to protect the safety and rights of trial participants. They do this by reviewing and approving the trial’s protocol – a plan that explains the need for the trials, what participants will need to do and how their health will be monitored throughout. 

Different types of clinical trials

Clinical trials help us answer scientific questions, but different types of trials help us do this in different ways, as described below.

Female doctor taking the blood pressure of a male clinical trial participant.

Interventional trials

Participants are asked to change their care somehow. For example, they may be asked to take an investigational drug or change their diet.

A female healthcare professional sits at a computer as she and two male healthcare professionals review the information on a screen.

Observational trials

Participants are asked to continue their usual healthcare regimen while healthcare professionals monitor their condition. For example, the level of a certain substance (e.g. an antibody) in the blood could be monitored.

Different phases of clinical trials

An investigational drug must pass through several stages of clinical trials before it can be submitted for approval for general use by the public. Each stage helps us answer different questions. Only once an investigational therapy has been shown to be safe in one phase may it progress to the next.

Investigators study the effects of an investigational drug in about 20 - 80 people. This phase is important for ensuring that an investigational drug is safe and helps us learn which doses may have a therapeutic effect.

These trials are conducted in a slightly larger group of about 100 - 300 people. The investigational drug may be compared with a placebo (a ‘dummy drug’) to help us learn whether it is an effective treatment and learn more about any potential side effects.

These usually involve up to 3,000 people to help us understand more about the safety and efficacy of an investigational drug, as well as how well it compares to existing treatments for a particular condition.

Medication approved for general use

These trials help us learn how the treatment affects people in the long-term. They only take place once a drug has been approved for general use.

Frequently asked questions

We’ve compiled answers to some of the most common questions about clinical trials, as well as any specific questions related to this particular program of clinical trials. If you have any other questions, please contact the trial team, who will be more than happy to assist you.

About clinical trials

A placebo looks just like an investigational drug and is given in the same way. However, it contains no active ingredients. Placebos are used to be sure that any treatment effects seen are due to an investigational drug and not some other factor, such as increased visits with the trial doctors. But that doesn’t mean people in the placebo group receive no care. The health of every participant will be closely monitored throughout their participation in a trial.

Participation in clinical trials is voluntary. This means that you are under no obligation to take part and you are free to leave at any time without penalty. However, we would encourage all potential participants to stay in a trial for its duration, if possible.

No. You do not need medical insurance to take part in clinical trials.

Every clinical trial must be approved by regulatory boards (such as the US Food and Drug Administration) before it can begin. It is the job of these boards to protect the safety and rights of a trial’s participants. They do this by reviewing the trial’s protocol. A protocol is a plan that explains the need for the trial, what participants will need to do, and how their health will be monitored.

Before a person can be enrolled into a clinical trial, they must meet eligibility criteria specific to that trial.

There is no cost to participate in a trial and insurance is also not required. Study-related medications and tests are provided at no cost. Many trials may pay for travel and accommodation-related expenses too.

This will depend on the trial. You will be provided with a detailed visit schedule before you enroll.

You may well have to take time off work to make appointments at the trial’s site. Before you enroll, you will be given a detailed visit schedule so you can consider this commitment before you decide to volunteer.

Many clinical trials are ‘randomized’ and ‘double-blind’. Randomized means a participant will be allocated to a treatment group by chance, like the flip of a coin. Double-blind means that neither the participant nor the trial team will know which group the participant is in until after the trial is complete. This is to ensure that any effects seen are due to the investigational drug alone. Some clinical trials offer ‘open-label’ treatment. This means participants and the trial doctor will know that they are receiving the investigational drug. If you pass the pre-screener, the study coordinator at the clinical trial site will be able to provide you with more information.

About our knee osteoarthritis program of clinical trials

We understand that walking and standing might be painful or uncomfortable for you because of the knee pain arthritis creates. Therefore, the site team will try to make your visits as comfortable as possible by providing physical assistance, enhanced mobility support and ensuring that clinic areas are accessible where possible. 

Benefits to taking part in one of these clinical trials include:

  • Access to knee osteoarthritis medical care
  • Access to an investigational drug which may improve your condition and quality of life
  • The opportunity to help researchers find out more about your condition and contribute to medical knowledge that may help other people in the future 

Depending on which trial you join, you will be randomly assigned to receive either an investigational drug, placebo, or an approved drug. Your study doctor will explain this in more detail, should you take part.

The trial you join may be ‘double-blind’. This means that neither you nor the trial team will know which group you’re in until after the trial is complete. This is to ensure that any effects seen are due to the investigational drug alone.

If the trial you join has an ‘open-label’ treatment, this means you and the trial doctor will know that you’re receiving the investigational drug. The trial doctor will explain what the chances are of receiving either the investigational drug, an approved drug or the placebo before you join the trial.


  1. Arthritis Foundation website: