NICM Health Research Institute osteoarthritis of the knee trial

Osteoarthritis sufferers needed for clinical trial

NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University is looking for volunteers to participate in new a clinical trial assessing the use of a herbal medicine for the management of osteoarthritis of the knee.

The research program led by Christine Murray, a recipient of a NICMHRI-Blackmores Institute Scholarship, is looking for participants aged between 40 and 75 who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee and are experiencing knee pain.

Participants will receive either the herbal formula – a combination of Turmeric, Boswellia (Indian Frankincense), and Ginger, or a placebo daily for 12 weeks.

Previous research at NICM Health Research Institute identified these three herbs, commonly used as a traditional pain treatment for osteoarthritis, as showing promising benefits in preclinical and clinical studies.

One in five Australians over the age of 45 have osteoarthritis and this number is expected to increase as the population ages. The condition is more common in women, and the prevalence increases sharply from the age of 45.

The total economic cost of osteoarthritis, including indirect costs such as lost work productivity and loss of wellbeing, is estimated to be over $23 billion each year.

Christine Murray explained osteoarthritis is a leading cause of pain, disability and early retirement, and there is a need to find safe and effective forms of long-term pain management for the condition.

“Currently, there is no known cure or intervention to stop the progression of osteoarthritis, so the management of the symptoms such as pain and inflammation is necessary. Common over the counter NSAIDS such as ibuprofen or prescribed medications cannot be used long-term by some patients due to safety issues, so around 70 per cent of people with osteoarthritis turn to natural therapies as an alternative,” Ms Murray said.

“Osteoarthritis is a very painful, debilitating condition. One in 10 people with osteoarthritis 45 and over self-reported poor health – twice as much as people without the condition,” said Professor Rick Day from St Vincent’s Hospital Medical School, UNSW Medicine, Sydney who is also involved with the study.

“With an ageing and increasingly obese population, the prevalence of osteoarthritis in Australia is projected to soar. The consequences for the economy, work productivity, health services and population health will be immense.”

“This clinical trial could prove an important step toward a new clinically validated formulation for the management of osteoarthritis of the knee.”

If you, or someone you know have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee you may be eligible to join the study, for more information visit

Learn more about the NICM Scholarships, and the research conducted by the recipients.

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