Research holds the key to preventing, controlling, and curing arthritis, the nation’s leading cause of disability. The prevalence, impact and disabling pain continues to increase. 50 million Americans—one in five adults—have arthritis now. Within 20 years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 67 million adults or 25% of the population will have arthritis. Arthritis limits the daily activities of 21 million Americans and accounts for $128 billion annually in economic costs.
- Cartilage regeneration studies for patients with osteoarthritis (OA), which afflicts 27 million Americans. This innovation could lead to the first disease-reversing drug to be available for patients with OA.
- A randomized, controlled trial on effectiveness of daily calcium supplementation for increasing bone mineral density in children with juvenile arthritis (JA). The trial found that supplementation resulted in a statically significant increase in total body mineral density compared with a placebo in children with JA.
- The NIAMS Community Health Center study on health disparities in rheumatic diseases. To date, over 200 people have participated in the Natural History of Rheumatic Disease in Minority Communities Study, which provides greater insights rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other forms of arthritis, in minority populations.
- Genome-wide association studies and in-depth follow-up analysis in rheumatic diseases. The study will provide insights into genetic risk for these conditions and identify potential therapeutic targets.
What Your Members of Congress Can Do to Act on this Issue:
To fully support research, like the examples highlighted above, which will lead to improved treatments, outcomes, and a cure for arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation requests Congress to:
- Increase the NIH Budget to no less than $32B for FY2014, the minimum needed to sustain the current level of research and account for inflation. This represents a 4.5% increase for NIH; and
- Increase the NIAMS budget proportionally (by 4.5%) to $559 M for FY2014.
Public investment in biomedical research holds the real promise of improving the lives of millions of Americans with arthritis. An investment in research is an investment in our nation’s future.