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The Osteoarthritis Initiative: A NIH Public–Private Partnership


Osteoarthritis affects over 27 million individuals in the USA. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has long supported research to improve outcomes for patients with this debilitating disease. Knee osteoarthritis is associated with significant pain and development of disability over time. People who are severely compromised have few effective treatment options other than joint replacement. Differences exist in the prevalence, incidence, and severity of osteoarthritis between men and women. Furthermore, the course of disease is frequently associated with significant morbidity and disability. Currently no disease-modifying agents exist for the treatment of osteoarthritis, although new treatments are currently under development. The discovery of osteoarthritis biomarkers, including structural characteristics that can be observed with MRI, could lead to identification of new treatment targets and mechanisms for shorter, more efficient trials of disease-modifying agents.

The Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) is a multicenter, longitudinal, and prospective observational study of knee osteoarthritis, which was launched by NIH in 2002. The overall aim of the OAI is to develop a public domain research resource to facilitate the scientific evaluation of biomarkers for osteoarthritis as potential surrogate endpoints for disease onset and progression. The goals of the OAI were to enroll approximately 5,000 subjects with risk factors for or evidence of early knee osteoarthritis and to collect clinical and imaging data and biological specimens from these participants for originally four and now 8 years of follow-up.

This article appears in HSS Journal: Volume 8, Number 1.
View the full article at springerlink.com.

About the HSS Journal

HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal published three times a year, February, July and October. The Journal accepts and publishes peer reviewed articles from around the world that contribute to the advancement of the knowledge of musculoskeletal diseases and disorders.


Gayle Lester, PhD
Clinical Osteoarthritis & Diagnostic Imaging, Division of Musculoskeletal Diseases NIAMS/NIH/DHHS
Bethesda, Maryland


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