Orthopedics and Pain Control Clinical Trials

There are a lot of things in the medical world that need to be tested and proven as safe and effective for people with ailments. This is why clinical trials are conducted to answer specific health questions.

A clinical trial is a research study where people volunteer to take part in finding effective treatments and innovations to improve health. Opportunity to participate is given to patients who would like to be involved in the discovery process but participation is strictly voluntary. To achieve improvements in terms of surgical procedures and patient outcomes, a partnership has developed within Orthopedic Surgery Department’s surgeons, residents and fellows. This is mainly focused on all subspecialties of orthopaedic surgery such as doing reconstruction, pediatrics, trauma, spine, extremity (hand, foot and ankle), shoulder and spine. The research being conducted is an effort coming from laboratory researches, physicians and Surgery Clinical Trials Office members or SCTO. SCTO’s aim is to manage these clinical researches and provides orthopedic surgery with the capability to run large-scale projects which involve human subjects.

For research and clinical trials, the principle, “from bench research to bedside” cascaded by the Orthopedic Research Department refers to an extensive research from basic science studies (microscopy or cell response) to clinical trials for FDA submission.

There are currently over 20 orthopedic studies involving the repair of articular cartilage injuries, growth factors for promoting spine fusion, reverse total shoulder, intervertebral disc arthroplasty and the use of autologous stem cells in fracture healing. Lab researches work on different researches like computerized implant retrieval library and bone graft substitute development.

Orthopedics and pain go hand in hand. When we talk about spines, joint, bones and shoulder there is an undeniable need for pain medication or pain control. In treating pain, there is also a need to test the drugs although there is no guarantee regarding the trial’s outcome. This is why a clinical trial needs to be voluntary and the participants are randomly assigned to either a new treatment or the standard treatment. This is to avoid bias and participants do not know if they received drug or placebo.

Clinical trials  in pain relief has grown enormously important. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are a very powerful and simple tool that is being used. The value of this in pain control is the capacity to reduce the confounding effects of unknown factors that may influence patients’ responses.

Challenges have been identified in terms of pain control trials and how this is conducted:

  1.  Avoid unnecessary duplication of effort
  2. Use all existing trials to guide our clinical decisions
  3. Improve the quality of RCTs in pain relief
  4. Improve the quality of reporting of RCTs
  5. Find better ways to present the results of trials to front-line users
  6. Ensure that all RCTs, once completed, are promptly available to the users
  7. Ensure that decision makers understand RCTs
  8. Integrate the findings of clinical trials with information from other types of research
  9. Balance the findings of clinical research with other ways of knowing
  10. Balance the findings of clinical trials with our values, preferences, and circumstances

Meeting these challenges require exceptional collaboration, dedication and proper communication between front-line clinicians, funders, research and researchers, policy makers, journal editors and the public.