Saumya Perera

Effectiveness and mechanisms of action of a standardised complex herbal formula for the management of osteoarthritis 


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a long term chronic disabling disease characterised by the destruction of cartilage in joints, which causes stiffness, pain and impaired movements. Topical and oral drugs such as analgesics, cortico-steroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are most commonly used to reduce symptoms and improve patient's quality of life despite the side effects associated with their long-term use. Therefore, complementary therapies have been gaining importance in the management of OA.

In Saumya's PhD project, a new standardised oral supplementation containing Boswellia serrata extracts, Zingiber officinale (ginger) extracts and Curcuma longa (curcumin) will be investigated in subjects with knee OA, in order to measure its effectiveness and safety. In addition, mechanisms of action of each herb in the formulation and the combination will be tested on cell lines.

Findings from this pilot study will indicate the efficacy and safety of the above formulation in the management of OA. This project may also result in a decrease in the use of prevalent pharmacological treatment, a reduction in the cost of management and improvement in the quality of life of the elderly population.

Saumya obtained a Bachelor degree with honours in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. Throughout her studies, she found that pharmacology was an area of particular interest to her, which lead her to undertake her PhD. In the future, Saumya would like to build up her career as a researcher and utilise her experience and knowledge to benefit the world of science.


Supervisors:

Professor Dennis Chang; Professor Alan Bensoussan
Funded by the NICM and Blackmores Institute Scholarship Program