Advancing Osteoarthritis Treatments


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most prevalent form of joint disease, affecting 30.8 million adults in the United States. OA entails all aspects of a serious condition, ranging in levels of disability severity from mild to severe with constant chronic pain, progressive irreversible structural damage and progressive loss of function. Pain from arthritis is one of the key barriers to maintaining physical activity and can be considered a key factor in onset of frailty in the elderly. The more severe the walking disability, the higher the risk of death. The impact of OA is complex, multi-factorial and persistently progressive.

There is no cure for osteoarthritis and the plethora of treatment options which aim to reduce symptoms and improve the quality of life are lacking in one or both aspects. There is an urgent need for trials of new and existing drugs which may intervene in the development and progression of OA. Importantly, therapies must improve how a patient feels, functions and survives.


OA Center of Excellence (COE)

The Arthritis Foundation is transforming the landscape of OA research and discovery by focusing on what is paramount for our patients - biomarkers to diagnose disease and intervene early as opposed to solely studying treatments of end stage disease when reduced or no options exist.

Our COE will allow researchers and patients from multiple organizations around the country to interact and share information that will help us:

  • Break down time and resource barriers
  • Accelerate FDA approval of new therapies
  • Connect a community of partners to best manage OA disease, ensuring patients live their YES! 

OA COE Clinical Trial Network

Breaking down time and resource barriers

We have established a multi-center clinical trial network with our virtual OA COE. It provides a full spectrum of research support, including clinical expertise, trial design guidance, patient cohorts, imaging modalities, biomarker testing as well as patient reported outcomes and data analysis. Investigators collaborating with the OA COE Clinical Trial Network will share:

    • Design standards, protocols, laboratories, reading centers and training.
    • Access to clinical trial design, drug development and licensing expertise.
    • Pathways for further development of de-risked molecules.
    • Outreach programs within the local community create private practice extension centers to accelerate patient recruitment for trials.
    • Process enhancements and novel design features are leveraged such as adaptive trials and shared placebo groups.
    • New and updated technology to accelerate data analysis, improve quality, and standardize reporting of outcomes.

    The Clinical Trial Network is reducing logistical and financial barriers for conducting trials.

    Clinical trials conducted within the OA COE Clinical Trial Network will select outcomes which are most meaningful to our patients as patients are engaged in all aspects of design, recruitment, conduct and governance. Importantly, patients will have the opportunity to be matched with trials of interest.

    OA COE Fellows in Training Bootcamp (FIT)

    Train emerging leaders and accelerating FDA approval of new therapies

    Getting OA on TRACKSM with FIT is our new annual total immersion conference for post-doctoral fellows, sports medicine fellows, early-stage scientists and MD/PHD candidates, and most importantly, patients, interested in early OA research.

    This meeting brings together the brightest, most dedicated and passionate people to accelerate science and transform the future of osteoarthritis. They participate in interactive workgroups, panel discussions, breakout sessions and open scientific debate.

    Emerging leaders and established experts work side by side cultivating and disseminating knowledge while implementing the most impactful approach forward to better understand the needs of the 30 million+ Americans who live with this life-altering disease.

    Scientists, doctors and interested parties looking for more information about FIT should contact Angie Botto-van Bemden at

    OA COE Voice of the Patient

    Building bridges

    The Arthritis Foundation understands the Voice of the Patient is paramount and the patient perspective is why we are driven to develop new treatments. On March 8, 2017 we led the OA PFDD meeting to elicit what is most meaningful for our patients via public comment, online polls, patient panels and patient focus groups. The results from this meeting are available in The Voice of the Patient report for all to consider when developing new treatments and designing clinical trials. We know that OA clinical trials must incorporate outcomes which are most meaningful to the patient (such as fatigue, functional status, independence, pain, etc.) and focus on patient preferences for ideal therapies.

    We learned that patients want:

      • Earlier diagnosis, better biomarkers, treatments which prevent and stop or delay disease progression.
      • Confidence in recognizing where they are along the continuum of disease severity.
      • Knowledge of all options available to them at each stage along the continuum - this will help them make better informed decisions with less anxiety.

      This experiential testimony of pharmacological, non-pharmacological and surgical management is providing guidance to drug developers and key stakeholders as to what matters most for our patients.