Recent Research

Many biochemical pathways are involved in the pathology of fibrosis, making effective treatment complex and difficult. Reducing inflammation as early as possible is the best approach we have for preventing chronic fibrosis, but despite the fact that the majority of people will develop fibrosis in some part of their body during their lifetime, effective treatments are lacking.

This page aims to highlight potential new treatments that are supported by good quality research. Many of the new approaches presented here will not have passed full clinical trials for the treatment of fibrosis or arthrofibrosis. Their inclusion is based on their usefulness for treating other similar diseases, or animal and cell culture models of fibrosis.  

While these studies support the theoretical use of a new approach for treating arthrofibrosis, further research is needed to determine if, and how well, they work for this application.

Side effects and safety should always be carefully considered with any treatment. If side effects are known to be minimal then a new approach may be worth considering if it has sound theoretical underpinnings.

Quality research should have sound statistical analyses and address key methodological criteria such as allocation concealment and blinding of outcome assessor1.

Readers should also be aware of the difference between studies investigating the prevention of arthrofibrosis in healthy subjects, as opposed to the treatment of existing arthrofibrosis. The majority of research involves the use of healthy subjects undergoing a procedure known to induce arthrofibrosis, and this is typically a surgical procedure. A treatment is given before, or immediately after, the surgery to examine it’s efficacy in preventing arthrofibrosis. This type of therapy may not translate into a treatment for existing arthrofibrosis, since the biological environment is different and pathological mechanisms have already become established.

References

  1. Green, S., Buchbinder, R. & Hetrick, S. Physiotherapy interventions for shoulder pain. Physiotherapy89, 335-336, doi:10.1016/s0031-9406(05)60024-7 (2003).