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Cytokine Therapy

What is cytokine therapy?

Cytokine therapy (also know as Supakine or Orthokine) is a unique way of reducing joint pain associated with osteoarthritis. The method is completely biological, using nothing but the body’s own endogenous proteins and healing factors.

At the beginning of the process blood is drawn from the patient. The blood is processed under special conditions and the obtained serum is then injected into the affected joint over a course of six injections. These injections are performed at one week intervals.

How does it work?

Cytokine therapy works by inhibiting the inflammation that often accompanies osteoarthritis. Due to the anti-inflammatory effect, the pain is reduced and mobility may improve.

How long do the effects last?

Every case is different, and it is impossible to predict how long the benefits of cytokine therapy will last in a given individual. In general, the less advanced the degree of joint deterioration when treatment begins, the longer lasting the beneficial effects will be.

What side effects may occur?

Cytokine therapy is especially well tolerated and side effect are rare however could consist of:

  • mild to moderate pain or joint stiffness post procedure
  • a very small risk of introducing infection (this risk is the same as any needle procedure)
  • redness or bleeding at the injection site


Once you have obtained a referral from your clinician, book a time to consult with a Radiologist at Fowler Simmons Radiology. Alcohol should be avoided the day before the consult as blood will be drawn and consumption of alcohol may dehydrate you. Come in for your consult well hydrated.

When the patient attends for the consult, blood is drawn (usually 40-50 ml) from an arm vein. The blood is labelled and incubated at 37°C for 24 hours; during this stage the proteins are being synthesized. The blood will then be spun down in a centrifuge. Following this, the concentrated IL-1Ra serum is drawn from cytokine syringes. The cells are further filtered to remove any unwanted blood components leaving pure concentrated IL-1Ra. This commonly produces between 12-20ml separated into 6 syringes. These dose sized samples are labelled and stored in a freezer at -17°C ready to be re-injected at a later stage.

Can it be repeated?

From a medical point of view, the treatment can be repeated any number of times.

Things we need to know from you

Please inform the Radiology staff of any of the following:

  1. If you have allergies to any medication or anaesthetic agent
  2. If you have had a vaccination within the last 4 weeks, or have taken any antibiotics in the last week
  3. If you are feeling unwell or need to cancel your appointment please ring our office as soon as possible on (08) 8229 2100

Note to female patients: If you are pregnant, or suspect you may be, or if you are breast feeding please advise us before your appointment.

Important things you must bring to your appointment

  • A referral from your doctor
  • Any previous films/x-rays
  • WorkCover/Motor Vehicle Accident claim details (if applicable) i.e. claim number, name of employer or insurer.


Please feel free to contact our staff at any time if you have any questions or concerns on (08) 8229 2100