Human adipose-derived Mesenchymal stem cells, low-intensity pulsed ultrasound, or their combination for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: study protocol for a first-in-man randomized controlled trial

BACKGROUND Human adipose-derived Mesenchymal stem cells (HADMSCs) have proven their efficacy in treating osteoarthritis (OA), in earlier preclinical and clinical studies. As the tissue repairers are under the control of mechanical and biochemical signals, improving regeneration outcomes using such signals has of late been the focus of attention. Among mechanical stimuli, low-intensity pulsed ultrasound (LIPUS) has recently shown promise both in vitro and in vivo. This study will investigate the potential of LIPUS in enhancing the regeneration process of an osteoarthritic knee joint.
METHODS This study involves a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, and single-blind trial based on the SPIRIT guidelines, and aims to recruit 96 patients initially diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis, following American College of Rheumatology criteria. Patients will be randomized in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive Intraarticular HADMSCs injection with LIPUS, Intraarticular HADMSCs injection with shame LIPUS, or Normal saline with LIPUS. The primary outcome is Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Index of OA (WOMAC) score, while the secondary outcomes will be other knee structural changes, and lower limb muscle strength such as the knee cartilage thickness measured by MRI. Blinded assessments will be performed at baseline (1 month prior to treatment), 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months following the interventions.
DISCUSSION This trial will be the first clinical study to comprehensively investigate the safety and efficacy of LIPUS on stem cell therapy in OA patients. The results may provide evidence of the effectiveness of LIPUS in improving stem cell therapy and deliver valuable information for the design of subsequent trials.
TRIAL REGISTRATION This study had been prospectively registered with the Chinese Clinical Trials Registry. registration number: ChiCTR1900025907 at September 14, 2019.

as reported in: BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2020 Jan 15; 21(1): 33