Health Professionals E-News

Issue 3
September 2016


Health Professionals E-News

Welcome to the third edition of Arthritis Queensland's (AQ) Health Professionals E-News. This quarterly newsletter is designed to keep health professionals up-to-date with the latest from the world of arthritis.

If you would like any further information on these articles, please contact us on 1800 011 041 or

Interested in Writing for AQ

At AQ we are always looking for enthusiastic health professionals to contribute to our resources and services. If you would like to contribute to future editions of our Health Professionals E-News, or any AQ consumer or health professional resources, please contact us on 1800 011 041 or 

In this Issue

  • AQ's Regional Health Professionals Seminars 2016
    • Beaudesert Workshop - Managing Arthritis in Primary Care
  • Stem Cells and Osteoarthritis
  • 18th Annual Health Professionals Seminar - Have Your Say!
    • Have your say on our 2017 seminar!
  • Out and About - with AQ's Health Education Team

Regional Health Professional Seminars 2016

Beaudesert - Managing Arthritis in Primary Care 

       Date: Wednesday 21st September,                            2016 (RSVP by 14th September)
       Time: 5pm - 7:30pm
       Location: The Centre Beaudesert, 82                      Brisbane St, Beaudesert Q4285
       Cost: Free (dinner provided)

Brisbane South PHN and Arthritis Queensland are pleased to present an interactive workshop on managing arthritis in primary care. This activity has been approved by the RACGP QI & CPD program with attendance attracting 3 Category 2 points.                     (click to expand)

Guest speakers include:

Dr Laurel Young: Rheumatologist
Dr Saul Geffen: Rehabilitation Specialist

To register for this free event follow the link below:  

For more information please contact:

Susan Cederblad
T: (07) 3864 7556
M: 0421 849 362
Robert Wight
T: (07) 3864 7573
M: 0435 758 679

Stem Cells Therapies and Osteoarthritis

By James Bayliss
Health Promotions Officer, Arthritis Queensland

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent arthritic condition in Australia, affecting over 1.8 million people. Both medical and allied health treatments for the disease are primarily focused on pain management and symptom control. Despite their effectiveness, these treatments do not repair the damage caused by osteoarthritis or stop its progression. As the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA) states. “There is currently no disease modifying therapy that has a credible evidence base for osteoarthritis, and this presents a major challenge”. Stem cell research is an exciting area of medical investigation and has long been sighted as a potential solution to this problem. However, this potential is yet to be converted into safe and effective treatments for osteoarthritis.

What are stem cells?

Stem cells are primitive cells which differentiate to become the cells found throughout the body. They are responsible for both the generation of new tissue and maintaining tissue over time. The question currently confronting the scientific community is whether this regenerative potential can be harnessed to successfully treat diseased or damaged tissue, such as osteoarthritis-affected cartilage.

Due to many factors, including their ability to differentiate towards chondrocytes (cartilage cells), adult mesenchymal stem cells have been identified as possessing potential for treatment in osteoarthritis. Stem Cells Australia states "Stem cells from fat and bone marrow are being investigated as possible treatments for osteoarthritis. It remains too early to know which approach will be most suitable. We need evidence collected in clinical trials to determine if a proposed stem cell treatment is both effective and safe".

What do I need to know about current treatments?

Despite the lack of evidence surrounding their safety or efficacy, Australia has one of the world’s highest concentrations of stem-cell clinics. These clinics offer a wide range of unsubstantiated treatments for osteoarthritis, which are both expensive and can pose a great risk to patient safety. 

How is this happening?

The treatments offered at these clinics are typically autologous therapies, meaning they use a person’s own cells as opposed to donor cells. Under the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s (TGA)  Excluded Goods Order, such therapies are exempt from TGA regulation.

In a recent article for The Conversation, Patrick Foong of Swinborne University of Technology stated "Because autologous therapies are based on the cells of the person being treated, there are far fewer moral and ethical questions surrounding their use. The exclusion of these ‘goods’ from TGA regulation was intended to prevent undue regulatory interference. But it inadvertently created a regulatory gap for clinics to conduct untested stem-cell treatments”.

Similarly, in their submission to the TGA’s Public Consultation on the Regulation of Autologous Stem Cell Therapies, Stem Cells Australia called for urgent action and more stringent oversight of stem cell based interventions, explaining that “the current blanket exclusion enables provision of unproven and potential unfounded autologous therapies that pose risks to the health of Australians and overseas visitors due to questions regarding: safety of product, lack of long-term follow-up and ongoing care, patient deviation from conventional ‘best practice’ medical care”

What if my clients are interested in stem cell therapies?

If your clients are determined to involve themselves in stem cell therapies, it is best they do so through a registered and regulated clinical trial. Clinical trials have high quality control mechanisms and patient safety standards in place to safeguard participants from any unnecessary risks.

Where can I find more information on stem cells?

For more information on stem cells and clinical trials involving stem cells, visit or  

Recently, Arthritis Queensland’s Health Education Team caught up with stem cell researchers from the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Medical Innovation. To read more about this interview register for our Joint News!


Patrick Foong (2016) - What Australia needs to do to protect consumers from untested stem-cell treatments -

Stem Cells Australia (2015) – Submission to the Therapeutic Good Administration’s Public Consultation – Regulation of autologous stem cell therapies -

Stem Cells Australia (2016)  – About Stem Cells -  

18th Annual Health Professionals Seminar 2017 - Have Your Say!

Arthritis Queensland is excited to be hosting the 18th installment of our Annual Health Professionals Seminar in early 2017. Planning is already underway and we would love to hear your thoughts on how we can make the 2017 seminar bigger and better than ever.

Let us know you thoughts on:

  • Speakers
  • Topics
  • Seminar format
  • Length of breaks and networking opportunities
  • Everything and anything! 

Have you say by contacting Arthritis Queensland's Health Promotions Officer James Bayliss on (07) 3857 4200 or via email at

Out and About - With AQ's Health Education Team

Health Promotions Officer James meeting with members of Dr. Mike Doran's Stem Cell Therapies team at the Translational Research Institute
Health Educator Paula talking to Channel 9 News about arthritis in young adults.
James and Paula catching up with Professor Matthew Brown after his run at the Brisbane Half Marathon