23 November 2016
The University of the Sunshine Coast has started a new clinical trial to test the effectiveness of applying a synthetic cannabis gel to the skin of people suffering osteoarthritis of the knee.
It is the second trial of the derivative of medicinal cannabis conducted by USC’s Clinical Trials Centre, based at the Ochre Health Medical Centre near the University at Sippy Downs.
The first, which involved applying the pharmaceutical-grade cannabidiol (CBD) to patients with epilepsy, expects findings early next year.
USC Centre director Lucas Litewka said the new trial was in conjunction with Golden Beach Med ical Centre investigators Dr Peter De Wet and Dr Evan Jones and used the same product created by American biotechnology company Zynerba.
“This trial aims to find out if the cannabidiol, when applied regularly to patients’ shoulders, can reduce the pain suffered from osteoarthritis of the knee,” Mr Litewka said.
Dr Jones said GPs at his medical centre were keen to be involved in the USC trial.
“Chronic pain is a common presentation in general practice and the possibility of finding innovative and better ways to deal with it through trials like this is exciting for our doctors and patients,” he said.
Eligible volunteers must be aged between 40 and 75 and have confirmed radiographic diagnosis, moderate to severe pain and no corticosteroid injections in previous weeks. There must be no history of illicit drug use or arthritis.
Clinical trials are medical research studies aimed at finding new or better ways to treat and manage health conditions and illnesses. The USC Centre started operating this year.
For details go to www.usc.edu.au/trials
Photo: USC Clinical Trials Centre research coordinator Jo McFarland with Golden Beach Medical Centre's Dr Peter De Wet.
— Julie Schomberg