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Osteoarthritis initiative releases first data

The Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), a public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and private industry that seeks to improve diagnosis and monitoring of osteoarthritis (OA) and foster development of new treatments, has released its first set of data.

Making this information available to researchers worldwide will expedite the pace of scientific studies and identification of biological and structural markers (biomarkers) for OA. Researchers can analyze the data to form new hypotheses for further study of OA, which is the major cause of activity limitation and disability in older people. Images, including x rays and magnetic resonance imaging scans, will also be available to researchers upon request. All data are stored with an anonymous identification number to protect the confidentiality of the participants' information.

"Since its inception, the OAI has been a premier example of how industry, government, and academic sectors might work together to add value to biomedical research," says NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D. "This first data release is proof positive that with cooperation, we can achieve results that neither the government nor its private partners is able to reach alone."

Over the next five years, the OAI will provide an unparalleled, state-of-the-art longitudinal database of images and clinical outcome information to facilitate the discovery of biomarkers for development and progression of OA. In this case, a biomarker would be a physical sign or biological substance that indicates changes in bone or cartilage.

Nearly 5,000 people at risk of developing knee OA, in the early stage of the disease or with more advanced knee OA are participating in the OAI at four centers around the United States. Participants in the research study provide biological specimens (blood, urine, and DNA); images (X rays and magnetic resonance scans); and clinical data such as dietary intake, medication us
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Contact: Ray Fleming
flemingr@mail.nih.gov
301-496-8190
NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
1-Aug-2006


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