|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
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 use and pain, function,
and general health assessments.
Data gathered from participants are available to researchers at http://www.oai.ucsf.edu. The
data include symptoms; pain severity; a measure of pain, stiffness,
and function known as the WOMAC OA index; walking ability; endurance;
balance and strength; nutrition; and prescription medicines and
alternative therapies used by the participants.
A second set of data will be released later in 2006, and a third
release will take place early in 2007. Subsequent data will be
released at approximately six — month intervals.
The four centers taking part in the study and their principal
- The University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; Marc
Hochberg, M.D., M.P.H., in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Bayview
Medical Center; Joan Bathon, M.D.
- The Ohio State University, Columbus; Rebecca Jackson, M.D.
- The University of Pittsburgh; C. Kent Kwoh, M.D.
- Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island , Pawtucket; Charles Eaton, M.D.
The study is coordinated and the data from the study and the Web
site are managed by the University of California, San Francisco.
The principal investigator for the Data Coordinating Center is
Michael Nevitt, Ph.D.
Today, 35 million people — 13 percent of the U.S. population — are
65 and older, and more than half of them have radiological evidence
of osteoarthritis in at least one joint. By 2030, an estimated
20 percent of Americans — about 70 million people — will
have passed their 65th birthday and will be at increased risk for
The OAI is a public-private partnership comprised of five contracts
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 (ORWH), National Institute of Dental
and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), National Institute of Biomedical
Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), National Center on Minority
Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) and National Center for Complementary
and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), all part of the Department of
Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health.Private
funding partners include Merck Research Laboratories, Novartis
Pharmaceuticals Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer Inc. Private-sector
funding for the OAI is managed by the Foundation for the National
Institutes of Health.
The mission of the NIAMS is to support research into the causes,
treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin
diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry
out this research; and the dissemination of information on research
progress in these diseases. For more information about NIAMS, call
the information clearinghouse at (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS
(free call) or visit the NIAMS Web site at http://www.niams.nih.gov.
Information on bone and its disorders can be obtained from the
NIH Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases ~ National Resource Center;
Phone (toll free) 800-624-BONE (2663) or visit http://www.osteo.org.
The NIA leads the Federal Government effort conducting and supporting
research on the biomedical and social and behavioral aspects of
aging and the problems of older people. For more information on
aging and aging-related research, please visit the NIA Web site
at www.nia.nih.gov. The public
may also call for publications at 1-800-222-2225, the toll-free
number for the National Institute on Aging Information Center.
The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health was established
by the United States Congress to support the mission of the National
Institutes of Health — improving health through scientific discovery.
The foundation identifies and develops opportunities for innovative
public-private partnerships involving industry, academia and the
philanthropic community. A nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation, the
Foundation raises private-sector funds for a broad portfolio of
unique programs that complement and enhance NIH priorities and
activities. The foundation’s Web site address is http://www.fnih.org.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.