Find a Musculoskeletal Study in your area

To find out more about current musculoskeletal studies you can view a list of studies on the NIHR Clinical Research Network Portfolio Database 

Working with the Life Sciences

The NIHR Clinical Research Network Musculoskeletal has been enormously successful in integrating clinical research into NHS clinical service provision, and both developing and delivering a large practice changing portfolio of clinical trials.

Our Studies

Musculoskeletal leg

As the most integrated clinical research system in the world, the NIHR supports research studies through our funding programmes, training and supporting health researchers, and providing world-class research facilities. We also support dialogue between the life sciences industry and charities to benefit all, and facilitate the involvement of patients and the public to make research more effective.

Last year (2016/2017) the NIHR supported 442 studies on Musculoskeletal disorders. The NIHR supported these studies through our funding programmes and our research schools and units. We also support Musculoskeletal research through our research infrastructure and our training and career development awards for researchers.

Biologic therapies for people with rheumatoid arthritis who do not respond to standard treatment

Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and damage in patients’ joints, currently affects around 600,000 people in the UK, with an estimated 20,000 new cases every year.

The second-line standard-of-care for rheumatoid arthritis is a combination of methotrexate and anti-TNF-alpha therapy; however, approximately 40% of patients do not have an adequate response to this treatment or become resistant within months. The protein Cadherin-11, found on stromal cells in the joint, has been identified as a novel target for new RA therapies.

Roche AG is investigating a monoclonal antibody called RG6125. The NIHR Joint and Related Inflammatory Diseases Translational Research Collaboration is supporting the second part of a Phase II randomised, multicenter clinical trial to recruitment to test the monoclonal antibody RG6125, following the successful completion of the first part of the study that was conducted in the US.

Managing and treating back pain according to prognosis

Complaints of back pain are the most common reason why middle-aged people visit their GP, and the second-most-common reason for sickness absence from work. To assist the management of lower back pain, the NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care West Midlands has developed a brief screening tool for use in clinical practice: STarT Back.

STarT Back is an example of stratified care for low back pain, whereby patients are initially screened for the type and likely duration of back pain and are then matched to pathways that ensure the right patient gets the right treatment. STarT Back has been shown to be both clinically and financially effective, by reducing over-treatment of low-risk groups.

In early 2014, the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) supported a funding application to extend the STarT Back approach to care management across the west midlands. To date, 109 physiotherapists have been trained in STarT Back

matched treatments, spanning 12 NHS providers within the west midlands.

New trial for prosthetic hip joint infection

Over 161,000 primary hip or knee replacements were undertaken in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2012. About 1 person in 100 develops a bacterial infection at their new, artificial (prosthetic) joint. Prosthetic joint infection is described as “devastating” and “associated with unbearable suffering.”  If untreated, these infections can result in severe pain, persistent dislocation and death.

Researchers, surgeons and patients funded by NIHR Programme Grants for Applied Research have joined together to design and deliver the Infection: Orthopaedic Management (INFORM) research programme. They will be investigating why some patients develop infections after their hip or knee replacement surgery, and which type of surgical revision treatment is best.


Fracture repair to lower shinbone

Fractures of the lower end of the shin bone (distal tibia) are serious injuries which can take many months to heal. These injuries are difficult to manage because the blood supply to the skin over the bone is poor and because the proximity of the fracture to the ankle joint. Infections and problems of bone healing are well recognised complications.

Most of these injuries require surgery. The most common methods of fixation are: intramedullary nail fixation and locking plate fixation. At present, there is limited evidence as to which technique is better with regards to healing of the bone, ankle function and quality of life.

The FixDT trial, funded by the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Programme, is investigating whether there a clinical and cost-effectiveness difference between 'locking' plate fixation and intramedullary nail fixation for patients with a displaced fracture of the distal tibia.


Find a musculoskeletal study in your area

You can find out more about musculoskeletal studies in your area through the UK Clinical Trials Gateway.