Sites chosen for public-private Osteoarthritis Initiative

Four clinical centers and a data coordinating center have been selected to conduct the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), the public-private partnership that will bring together new resources and commitment to help find biological and structural markers (biomarkers) for development and progression of this joint disease. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and the major cause of activity limitation and physical disability in older people.

The seven-year project will recruit 5,000 men and women aged 50 and above at high risk for developing symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. The OAI will rely on the following centers and their principal investigators:

University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; Marc Hochberg, M.D., M.P.H.

The Ohio State University, Columbus; Rebecca Jackson, M.D.

University of Pittsburgh; C. Kent Kwoh, M.D.

Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, Pawtucket; Annlouise Assaf, Ph.D., F.A.H.A.

University of California, San Francisco (data coordinating center); Michael Nevitt, Ph.D.

The initiative should help speed OA drug development, which is hindered by the lack of objective and measurable standards for disease progression needed for drug evaluation.

The OAI consortium includes public funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and private funding from several pharmaceutical companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Merck & Co., Inc., Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, and Pfizer. The consortium is being facilitated by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. The OAI will allow the centers to establish and maintain a natural history database for osteoarthritis that will include clinical evaluation data and radiological (x-ray and magnetic resonance) images, and a biospecimen repository. All data and images collected will be available

Contact: Ray Fleming
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

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