This article is part of the Arthritis Archives.
Dateline: June 25, 2001
Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI)
Headline-generating, exciting, breakthrough treatments for rheumatoid arthritis have become available within the past few years. The newer biologic drugs have given rheumatoid arthritis patients new options.
Highly effective therapies do not exist for osteoarthritis though, despite the fact that more than 20 million people in the United States have what is considered the most common form of arthritis. According to an estimate by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), by age 65, more than half of the population has osteoarthritis in at least one joint.
Drug Development Lacking for Osteoarthritis
So why has drug development been lacking for a disease that is so prevalent? In order to diagnose, monitor, and develop treatments for osteoarthritis, researchers and drug companies need biochemical and imaging markers of how the disease progresses. Currently, x-rays and blood tests used to evaluate the progression of osteoarthritis do not offer enough accuracy to be used in conjunction with clinical trials for the development of new treatments. It is the lack of good data relating to osteoarthritis which has hindered the development of new therapies.
Osteoarthritis Initiative is a Public-Private Partnership
Recently, a public-private partnership has been launched, called the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), This new initiative will combine resources for the purpose of finding biological markers related to the progression of osteoarthritis. Over 5-7 years, the OAI will collect information from about 5000 people at high risk for the development of osteoarthritis and the data will be used for the development of potential new osteoarthritis treatments. The OAI is a combined effort of:
- the NIH
- Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation
The OAI will provide approximately $8 million/year for six clinical research centers to establish and maintain a natural history database for osteoarthritis that will include clinical evaluation data and radiological images and a biospecimen repository. All of the collected data and images will be available to researchers worldwide.
The NIH will solicit and review applications and award research contracts for 4-6 clinical centers and 1 coordinating center to create the repository. Research contracts for the clinical trial centers and coordinating center are expected to be in place by August, 2002. Trail participant recruitment is expected to be underway by May, 2003. The centers will recruit people over the age of 50 at high risk of having osteoarthritis and at high risk of progressing to more severe stages of the disease (i.e. people who are obese, have previous knee injury, low-grade knee pain, or an abnormal gait).
Related Resources - Osteoarthritis
Source: Public-Private Partnership Launches Osteoarthritis Initiative, NIH News Release, July 17, 2001
First published: June 25, 2001