Study Offers Pain Relief

Local News

As we get older, we’re more likely to develop arthritis in our knees and that pain can become a chronic problem. Now, a local doctor is testing some new therapies that may give you relief–and they’re free.

Roberta Davis has osteoarthritis in her knees. Here’s how she describes it: “Like when you first get up I’d have pain in my knees and then sometimes doing steps going up the steps or going down the steps.”

If she sits for any length of time,  her knees get sore and stiff. She’s doesn’t need joint replacements yet, but her osteoarthritis  was serious enough to bring her to the Altoona Center For Clinical Research

Rheumatologist Dr. Alan Kivitz says, “We now have a multitude of studies that are underway now to try to not only improve the symptoms of knee arthritis, but actually to improve the disease itself  and improve the cartilage that someday we won’t have to have so many knee replacements, as we do now.”

According to Dr. Kivitz, three of the studies involve injections into the knee. While some patients may receive  cartilage cells to take hold and regrow in  the knee, others will be given injections that contain medications  to remove old cells that are part of the cartilage breakdown process.

In  another study, patients receive medication in pill form, that’s  designed to  improve the growth of cells found in healthy cartilage.

“So, these studies will have 2 goals,” Kivitz explains. “One, is that they will have to relieve pain like the other studies did in the past, but they actually have to improve cartilage.”

He says patients will undergo MRIs to see if these treatments increase the thickness of  the cartilage.

The rheumatologist  adds,  “If you can relieve pain an  improve pain and improve the cartilage and the cartilage is healthy cartilage, then we have something that is promising for the future.”

Roberta’s been enrolled in one of the injection studies  for about a year and has four more years to go.

She’s not sure if she is taking one of the medications or a placebo, but says, “I feel that it has helped that I can move around now.  There are some days when I do have a little trouble, but I’m doing steps better than I had been.”

Dr Kivitiz is still recruiting  patients for his studies. For more information, call 1-800-924-7790, extension 224 or 814-693-0300, extension 224.

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