Injury to the knee during sports participation often involves partial of full detachment of the anterior cruciate ligament (abbreviated as ACL).† ACL tears cause pain, swelling and inflammation.† While the swelling and inflammation usually goes away in time, individuals with ACL injuries may experience pain and notice knee instability (knee slipping, etc.).† Often surgery can repair or replace the ACL within the joint, allowing individuals the ability to walk or run again pain free or participate in sports.† Unfortunately, osteoarthritis of the knee, which also causes pain and swelling, can occur in that same knee 10-20 years later for reasons which are not well understood.† Because ACL injuries more typically happen to active, young adults during sports participation (while playing basketball, soccer, and skiing), chronic osteoarthritis strikes when these individuals are relatively young and healthy.† Imagine the reduced quality of life a 38 year old father of very young children with painful, crippling osteoarthritis in the knee will experience due to an ACL injury he suffered in his late teens or early 20ís.†† In this research study, we hope to prevent the development of osteoarthritis in individuals with ACL injuries by treating them within 1-2 days after their injury with a drug that blocks a protein known as Interleukin 1, which is one of many proteins in the knee that cause knee swelling and pain.† We will treat approximately 34 clinical trial patients with this drug, injected on one or two different occasions into the knee joint.† Thirty-four additional patients will receive harmless salt solution (called a placebo) into their knees either with or without an injection of the drug we are testing.† During this trial, no one will know which patients receive the drug and which patients receive the placebo at any time point.† All individuals in our clinical trial will be compensated for their participation and will be required to answer questions related to how well they feel, how well they can perform activities in their day-to-day lives, and their level of pain, if any, before and after treatment.†† Lastly, we will withdraw a small amount of fluid within the knee joint with a small needle and measure the amount of Interleukin 1 and other proteins in the knee. We predict that at the conclusion of the trial, when we find out who received the drug and who received the salt solution, that individuals receiving one or two injections of drug will have experienced less pain, felt better overall, and were able to return to normal activities sooner.† This clinical trial is the first of its kind and will allow health care professionals and researchers to answer many questions about the reasons why ACL injury leads to knee pain and disability and osteoarthritis.† We also hope that this study will be the beginning of new, more powerful and safer drugs to help patients with ACL injuries heal sooner and return to sports or daily activities pain free.

Dr. Lattermann serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at UK.As Director of the UK-Center for Cartilage Repair and Restoration he has a special interest in patients who develop early arthritis after athletic injuries. This particular research project will allow him to study a novel treatment that potentially can reduce pain and long-term development of arthritis in young patients who suffered a tear of their anterior cruciate ligament. Dr. Lattermann is partnering with Dr. Darren L. Johnson at UK as well as with Dr. Kurt P Spindler (Vanderbilt University) and Virginia B Krauss (Duke University) to perform this research.