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Examining Osteoarthritis

The Departments of Internal Medicine, Radiology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at The Ohio State University comprise one of four clinical sites for a national initiative aimed at furthering our understanding osteoarthritis, one of the most disabling conditions suffered by older adults.

OSU will receive $9.1 million to carry out its portion of the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI), launched by a public/private partnership consisting of the NIH and several pharmaceutical companies. The seven-year project, which will recruit 5,000 people considered at risk of developing osteoarthritis, will collect information and design disease standards intended to speed drug development.

Ronald Whisler, MD, director of the Division of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, and Kevin Hackshaw, MD, associate professor in the division, are collaborating with project leader Rebecca Jackson, MD, of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism. Other team members include W. Jerry Mysiw, MD of PM&R and Joseph Yu, MD, of Radiology.

Investigators have begun to recruit 1,250 individuals between the ages of 50 and 79, with ethnic minorities expected to make up at least 20 percent of the study participants. The OAI Center, together with Ohio State’s existing Osteoporosis Program, will form the foundation for the establishment of The OSU Comprehensive Osteoporosis and Bone Diseases Program.

Though osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, affects several areas of the body, the consortium will zero in on osteoarthritis of the knee and, secondarily, the hip in both women and men.