The Arthritis Foundation is one of the leading worldwide private, nonprofit contributors to arthritis research. Since its inception in 1948, the Foundation has invested almost $500 million to support the work of 2,653 scientists in 236 research institutions across the country. 

See the 2014 Pacific Region Research Award Recipients.


The Arthritis Foundation’s research strategy focuses on three types of arthritis: Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile arthritis. Through a disciplined peer-review process, Innovative Research and Arthritis Foundation Investigator grants are awarded to the highest nationally rated studies with the greatest potential to create breakthroughs.

Explore the profiles, publications, and grant data of hundreds of scientists who have received funding from the Arthritis Foundation.


INITIATIVE 1: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It affects 27 million Americans and results in one million joint replacements every year. Presently, there are no medications to slow or stop osteoarthritis and no tools to identify early stages of the disease. Two major research initiatives are underway to address the needs of patients with osteoarthritis:

1) The OA Biomarkers Initiative and 2) The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Intervention Initiative.

OA Biomarkers Initiative

This major initiative brings together the Arthritis Foundation, the Foundation for National Institutes of Health (FNIH) Biomarkers Consortium and OARSI (OA Research Society International).

Research Goal
Identify and classify biological markers of knee OA progression through use of medical imaging and biochemical markers. 

Learning will be used to monitor the progression of OA and support development of new OA drugs and treatment options to prevent the occurrence and progression of osteoarthritis.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Intervention Initiative

Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries are common among young athletes. About 200,000 ACL repairs are required in the United States each year. ACL tears often lead to a diagnosis of OA within 10 to 20 years. With the support of generous donors, the Arthritis Foundation recently awarded a $1 million, multi-institutional grant that could revolutionize future treatment for OA.

Research Goal
Lay the groundwork to establish a new clinical strategy for OA drug development and to prevent the onset of OA after ACL injuries.

There will be treatment for the disease, not just its symptoms, so people can avoid the progressive damage of OA and reverse its course. People will also know whether or not they are at risk of OA so they can take steps to prevent it.

INITIATIVE 2: Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 1.5 million people in the U.S. – most of them women. The disease can be highly unpredictable, ranging from extreme inflammation, rapid progression and joint degradation in one patient to limited inflammation and a small degree of joint deterioration in another. Research advances can lead to development of personalized patient therapies and needed treatments.

Research Goals

• Identify genetic, molecular and immunologic factors that predict RA risk
• Increase knowledge about genetic or environmental factors that affect the initial development or progression of RA
• Better understand patient response to RA therapies which will slow progression and inhibit long-term effects of the disease 

Key Initiative
The Arthritis Internet Registry is a large clinical database that allows researchers to exam- ine similarities and differences between patients and their responses to treatments. The data can help to determine how genetic factors relate to treatment responses and lead to development of the safest and most effective treatments for RA patients. The Arthritis Internet Registry (AIR) has more than 3,700 online registered patients and urgently needs more people to provide information that will lead to desired research breakthroughs. If you qualify, please visit: to register.

Improved treatments that are safe and effective over the long-term will be developed so that patients can regain good health and enhanced quality of life.

INITIATIVE 3: Juvenile Arthritis 

Nearly 300,000 children endure the debilitating pain and disabling effects of the many forms of juvenile arthritis (JA). Until a cure is found, JA robs them of the joys of childhood and continues to affect their lives as they transition to adulthood.

Research Goals

• Identify who is at risk for juvenile arthritis based on genetics or environment
• Develop therapies to rapidly reduce or prevent the effects of JA
• Develop new drugs that are safer and better for children with arthritis 

Key Initiatives
During its 10-year partnership with CARRA (Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance), the Arthritis Foundation has contributed more than $2.3 million to fund JA research and support the national CARRA registry ( of more than 8,000 patients. The CARRA registry provides the long-term information that can lead to development of the safest and most effective treatments for children with JA.

Safe and effective treatments will be available at the onset of the disease so children with JA can rapidly regain good health and long-term quality of life.