Fitbits? Food? These clinical trials sound like fun!

One of the biggest clinical trials myths is that they exclusively explore new drugs, when in fact, they often “step outside the box”, and involve a variety of new treatment types.

In this article, I break down a few of the autoimmune arthritis research studies that are stepping outside of the box to discover something new about the conditions. You can also watch our video about the many different types of clinical trials here!

getting ready to run

Get your sweat on!

Time to count those steps! This study uses a wearable fitness tracking device (called a fitbit) to see if and how exercise helps people living with rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis.

What questions is the study trying to answer?

  • Is an incentive better than no incentive in maintaining an increased level of physical activity?
  • What are the benefits of physical activity on patient reported disease activity in inflammatory arthritis?

The study is currently recruiting in the “City of Brotherly Love” - Philadelphia, PA. Interested in learning more? Check it out!


Stem cells are all the rage!

Stem cells have been a hot topic across therapetuic areas the past few years. At Clara we've had many patients interested in stem cell trial as they offer an alternative to medication.

This trial is examining the adminisration of Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in rheumatoid arthritis patients. MSCs in particular are well known for their immunosuppressive and tissue repair properties and therefore study investigators hope that this therapy will induce healthy immune responses and reduce rheumatoid arthritis disease activity.

choice between two options

And the biologic winner is...

Another study recruiting in Pittsburgh is working to determine the effectiveness of several biologic medications for rheumatoid arthritis. There are currently 9 biologics approved to treat RA, but which one takes the cake?

In other words, the researchers are looking to determine a few different factors such as:

  • What therapy should be prescribed after failure of methotrexate and/or other oral disease modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to control RA symptoms?
  • What is the level of efficacy of the various biologic therapies when compared side by side?
  • What are the mechanisms associated with failure of methotrexate and/or other oral DMARD therapy and responsiveness to biologic therapies?

Which biologic will win?

avocado on toast

Bring on the veggies!

Have you seen the popular Netflix documentary What the Health? Apparently these researchers have. Preliminary evidence has surmised that a low fat, vegetarian diet and certain supplements can help reduce pain and sometimes reduce the need for pain meds.

This Washington D.C. based study aims to find out if following a low-fat, vegan diet improves pain and other symptoms better than a nutritional supplement which contains omega-3 and vitamin E oils or a placebo.

All 100 patients in the study will get both the diet and supplement but the order in which they get them is TBD by "chance" i.e. like the toss of a coin. What do you think? Heads or tails?

clara health link:

woman on computer

To start a biologic or not? That is the question.

... that this research study is trying to help with. Starting or switching to a biologic is a big decision. For many patients, they have worked wonders. Unfortunately, like most medications, they can come along with some not so fabulous side effects.

So how do you weigh out the costs and benefits?

This study in Boston is hoping to discover if an online decision aid can help patients navigate the process.

woman questioning

“But I’m in remission! Why do I need to keep taking my biologic?”

A question many patients ask...but what is the answer? This study aims to learn if it is “OK” to stop TNF Alpha Inhibitors (such as humira, enbrel, or remicade) in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Will patients stay in remission? Some studies say yes... others can’t confirm.

Not only do they want to learn if it’s possible, they also want to determine if there are measurements which will predict the type of patient who is more likely to flare after discontinuing their biologic.

Interested? Head this way to learn more.

baby feet

Massage therapy? Sign me up!

Even when they receive the traditional standard of care, many children living with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) suffer from pain. This study up in Canada wants to find out if massage therapy as a compliment to the standard of care is effective in pain reduction.

Even better, pediatric rheumatology nurses and massage therapists will train parents/families to administer the massage at home which means less time in the hospital. Yay!

Are you or a loved one interested in finding an observational study or clinical trial for arthritis? Let us know! We'll help you every step of the way. Sign up for Clara now or follow this link to learn more about how Clara supports patients through the clinical trials process.