Abstract: Articular cartilage defects strongly predispose patients to developing early joint degeneration and osteoarthritis, but for more than 15 years, no new cartilage-repair technologies that we know of have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Many studies examining novel approaches to cartilage repair, including cell, tissue, or matrix-based techniques, have shown great promise, but completing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to establish safety and efficacy has been challenging, providing a major barrier to bringing these innovations into clinical use. In this article, we review reasons that surgical innovations are not well-suited for testing through RCTs. We also discuss how analytical methods for reducing bias, such as propensity scoring, make prospective observational studies a potentially viable alternative for testing the safety and efficacy of cartilage-repair and other novel therapies, offering the real possibility of therapeutic innovation.
Investigation performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery Healthcare Research Institute, New York, NY
Disclosure: The authors indicated that no external funding was received for any aspect of this work. On the Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest forms, which are provided with the online version of the article, one or more of the authors checked “yes” to indicate that the author had a relevant financial relationship in the biomedical arena outside the submitted work and “yes” to indicate that the author had other relationships or activities that could be perceived to influence, or have the potential to influence, what was written in this work.
- Copyright © 2016 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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