Current Research Studies

To view the procedure you must follow to seek approval for your research study to be advertised on the ARA website click here.

Information regarding studies that are currently recruiting participants  can be found below.

Attitudes of Healthcare Professionals and Patients with RA towards Parenteral Use of Methotrexate in RA Patients

Project Title
Attitudes of Healthcare Professionals and Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis towards Parenteral Use of Methotrexate in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: A Qualitative Study.

CALHN Reference Number: 16084

Principal Investigators: 

  • Professor Susanna Proudman
  • Professor Catherine Hill

Parenteral MTX is a therapeutic option in patients with RA who have failed to respond adequately to oral MTX (alone or in combination with other DMARDs), but there are likely many barriers and enablers to its use – these barriers and enablers remain largely undefined, particularly within the context of the Australian healthcare system. As part of a broad body of work that is investigating methods to optimise therapeutic outcomes from MTX and DMARDs more generally, this study aims to determine attitudes of both patients and RA practitioners to parenteral MTX within the current Australian Healthcare system regulations, including PBS criteria. 

Specifically, the aims of this study are:

  • To assess healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards parenteral MTX with a view to informing implementation of this route of administration in practice. 
  • To assess RA patients’ attitudes regarding parenteral MTX.

Qualitative research with different study methods, whereby combination of both semi-structured one-on-one interviews and focus groups will be used. 

Recruitment of participants

Health Care Professional cohort
The interviews and focus groups will be held face-to-face, over the telephone, or via video conferencing software (Zoom). Face-to face interviews and focus groups will be held at Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) or University of South Australia (UniSA). If face-to-face meetings are not possible, the interviews may be conducted via telephone or Zoom. 

Inclusion criteria:

  • Rheumatologist (including trainees and registrars), general practitioner, nurse, general practice nurse or pharmacist with current or past experience working at inpatient or outpatient rheumatology clinic or rheumatology ward or service 
  • Practicing in Australia 

Exclusion criteria:

  • Not able to read and communicate in English
  • Less than 18 years old

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patient cohort
The study will be conducted at CALHN. 

Inclusion criteria:

  • 18 years old and above.
  • Currently taking MTX or prior use of MTX regardless of route of administration or any planned changes to MTX regimen.
  • Individuals with either medically diagnosed or self-reported RA.
  • Informed consent obtained.

Exclusion criteria:

  • Not able to read and communicate in English
  • Less than 18 years old

If you are interested in taking part in this study please contact Jiun Ming Tan jiun_ming.tan@mymail.unisa.edu.au
 

Stem Cells as a symptom- and strUcture-modifying Treatment for tibiofemoral OsteoaRthritis: a randomised placebo-controlled trial (The SCUlpTOR trial)

Project Title
Attitudes of Healthcare Professionals and Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis towards Parenteral Use of Methotrexate in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: A Qualitative Study.

Principal Investigators

  • Professor David Hunter
  • Professor Changhai Ding

Broad Aims of this Project

  • To assess the effect of knee intra-articular injections of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) compared with placebo (saline) on patient-reported outcome measures and joint structure over 24 months in people with knee OA.
  • We would like to explore different ways to boost recruitment of study participants. The idea is that we would pay 10 AUD per referral from any health care provider. If the person is ultimately enrolled in the study, the referring professional will receive an additional 100 AUD. We will ensure that participants are fully aware that their participation is entirely voluntary regardless of the recruitment source.

Reason for Doing this Research Project 

  • Knee osteoarthritis is the leading cause of lower-limb disability in older people and a prevalent problem for Australians. To reduce social and individual burdens, new treatments that can slow or stop disease progression are needed. Stem cell therapy has been increasingly utilised for osteoarthritis, with the belief that it prevents joint destruction and stimulates regeneration. However, the medical opinion remains highly controversial, given the considerable treatment cost and limited scientific evidence to support stem cell efficacy and safety in treating osteoarthritis. With that in mind, the SCUlpTOR study aims to ascertain whether intra-articular stem cell injections improve symptoms and slow disease progression in people with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis.

Recruitment of Participants and Target Audience

  • We would like to target health professionals who treat people with knee OA and may be interested in referring patients to the trial.

Ethics Approval Details

  • The University of Sydney (USYD) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) #: 2020/119 (lead HREC)

TIme Period of the Research Project

  • Anticipated finish date by December 2024.

For Further Information  

Multimodal MRI of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a cross-sectional neuroimaging study towards its neuropathophysiology and diagnosis

Project Title

Multimodal MRI of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a cross-sectional neuroimaging study towards its neuropathophysiology and diagnosis

Principal Investigators

  • Dr Zack Shan PhD, Thompson Institute, University of Sunshine Coast
  • Dr R Kwiatek FRACP, Private Rheumatology Practice, North Adelaide
  • Dr P Del Fante FRACGP, Private General Practice, Adelaide
  • Assist/Prof C Chang PhD, Vanderbilt University, USA
  • Prof V Calhoun PhD, The George State University, USA
  • Prof J Lagopolous PhD, Thompson Institute, University of Sunshine Coast
  • Prof D Hermens PhD, Thompson Institute, University of Sunshine Coast

Broad Aims of this Project

To investigate hypotheses of 

  • (i) Slowed hemodynamic response function (HRF) and elevated glutamate levels during brain function underpin the underlying neurological disease process in ME/CFS and fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS); and 
  • (ii) A multimodal MRI neuromarker, from the integration of structural, neurochemical, functional MRI measures, can be utilised to for objective diagnose of ME/CFS and FMS.

Reason for Doing this Research Project 

  • Incompletely understood ME/CFS and FMS (still regarded as a rheumatological disorder as its cardinal feature is widespread musculoskeletal pain) are closely related common functional somatic disorders causing major morbidity and economic loss within the Australian population, easily competing with inflammatory RMD as having unmet clinical needs. ME/CFS and FMS can be regarded as existing on a clinical phenotypic spectrum with most of those afflicted meeting diagnostic criteria for both.

Recruitment of Participants and Target Audience

  • Community individuals with FMS. Inclusion and exclusion criteria are strict and are summarised here.

Ethics Approval Details

  • USC Ethics Approval Number A191288
  • Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry Number: ACTRN12622001095752

TIme Period of the Research Project

  • Recruitment to finish December 2023

For Further Information

  • Contact 07 5456 5445 or email cfs@usc.edu.au
  • Click here for Fibromyalgia Research Study information.