Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 78 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 18-Mar-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 19-Mar-2004
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Enrollment begins for osteoarthritis initiative

Recruitment has begun for the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), a public-private partnership between the National Institutes of Health and industry that funds a multisite contract to create a resource to hasten discovery of biological markers for osteoarthritis (OA).

Men and women age 45 and older at risk for developing OA and those with early disease are eligible to participate. After an initial screening, four centers around the United States plan to each enroll and follow 1,250 adults for five years (total enrollment of 5,000). Biological specimens (blood, urine, DNA), images (X-rays and magnetic resonance scans) and clinical data will be collected annually.

Biological markers — physical signs or biological substances that indicate changes in bone or cartilage — are critical in diagnosing and monitoring OA and developing new treatments. Ultimately, results from the OAI may enable doctors to use biological markers to help identify people at risk for OA and people with OA at risk for disease progression. The markers could also help doctors assess the effectiveness of treatments.

The four clinical centers, selected in the summer of 2002, include the University of Maryland School of Medicine/Johns Hopkins University, the Ohio State University Medical Center, the University of Pittsburgh and the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island/Brown University. A data coordinating center at the University of California, San Francisco oversees the study conduct and will manage the resulting data. The Ohio State University and University of Pittsburgh centers enrolled their first participants the week of February 23, and centers in Maryland and Rhode Island will begin enrollment in late March and early April.

The clinical centers may be contacted at:

Ms. Raushanah Kareem
University of Maryland
10 South Pine Street, Room 8-34, MSTF
Baltimore, MD 21201
(410) 706-5791 or (866) 565-KNEE (toll free)

Osteoarthritis Initiative
The Ohio State University
198 McCampbell Hall
1581 Dodd Drive
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 688-3563 or (800) 251-1175 (toll free)

Study Office/GSPH
University of Pittsburgh
4200 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-9910
(800) 872-3653 (toll free)

Osteoarthritis Initiative
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island/Brown University
ATTN: Doris Moore
111 Brewster Street, CPCP Building, 2nd Floor
Pawtucket, RI 02860
(800) 877-3347 (toll free)

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition whose hallmarks are joint pain and limited movement resulting from progressive loss of cartilage, is the most common type of arthritis, especially among older people. It can occur in any joint, but most often affects the hands, knees, hips or spine. There are currently no treatments, other than surgical joint replacement, that significantly change the course of this joint disease, and clinical trials for new therapies are long, difficult and expensive.

The OAI is a federal contract funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), National Institute on Aging (NIA), Office of Research on Women's Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, all part of the Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health. Private funding partners include Merck Research Laboratories; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; and Pfizer Inc. Private sector funding for the OAI is being managed by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health.

For information on the OAI, visit The OAI: A Knee Health Study at

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