Osteoarthritis Research

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and the leading cause of disability, affecting more than 30 million Americans. Yet the treatments that are available address only symptoms. Unlike with other types of arthritis, there are no drugs yet that can change the course of disease with osteoarthritis. That’s why it’s a research priority for us.

We are at the forefront of research in OA, partnering with international thought leaders in the arena. And we are committed to supporting research that has meaningful results for people living with OA. We have several Science programs focused on identifying new OA biomarkers, discovering new OA drugs and improving the lives of people living with this disease.

Osteoarthritis by the Numbers

30+ Million

Americans affected by OA

$12 Million

granted to 15 institutions since 2018


research projects supported



The Osteoarthritis Clinical Trial Network (OA-CTN) is composed of leading clinical investigators and research institutions collaborating and building networks to accelerate scientific innovations that will make a difference in patients’ lives.

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OA Clinical Studies: Beyond the Knee

Through our OACS Forum Series and Conferences, we facilitate conversations around OA clinical research among the renowned leaders in the field. Clinical research in OA has largely focused on the knee, a joint that is commonly injured and more easily studied than most other joints. We are currently working to fill gaps in knowledge by focusing on other joints. Learn more about the research we support in OA.

Ankle OA

Ankle OA

We are currently focusing on joints in the ankle — a complex musculoskeletal structure with few satisfactory treatments. In 2021, our two-day OACS virtual conference highlighted research into ankles and feet, and we are continuing to concentrate our research efforts in that area, in partnership with the American Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Society.

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Ankle OA

In partnership w/HSS

2023 Hip OA Clinical Studies Conference

In a continuation of our OA Clinical Studies: Beyond the Knee, we are partnering with Hospital for Special Surgery to present a symposium focusing on OA of the hip.Join us Friday, Feb. 17, 2023, at HSS in New York to hear 20 multi-disciplinary experts review current state-of-the-art practices in hip OA and identify clinical research gaps.

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OACS Video series
Cell Therapy in OA
Does Strong Muscle Matter in OA?
Exercise and Pain Coping: Issues and Opportunities
Exercise is Medicine: Managing OA Joint Pain
Impact of OA in the Military
Is Exercise Therapy Safe for People with Osteoarthritis?
MRI in OA Clinical Research
RA Biologics in OA: Failures but Reasons for Hope?
Subgroups and Mechanisms of Actions for Exercise in Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis
Tanezumab and Similar Therapies

2021 ACR Guideline for the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) published its 2021 guideline for rheumatoid arthritis treatments.
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Forward and reverse degradomics defines the proteolytic landscape of human knee osteoarthritic cartilage and the role of the serine protease HtrA1

This manuscript describes research to elucidate how cartilage is broken down in an arthritic joint, could spur development of treatments that prevent the breakdown. This project was led by Arthritis Foundation funded scientist Suneel Apte. Aspects of this project was funded by the Arthritis Foundation.
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MOCHA Trial: study protocol for a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial

Technical description of the AF-funded OACTN study called MOntelukast as a potential CHondroprotective treatment following Anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (MOCHA Trial): study protocol for a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. This project was led by Arthritis Foundation funded scientist Cale Jacobs. This project was funded by the Arthritis Foundation.
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OA Drug Development Workshop Presentations and Papers

Experts discussed many aspects of OA and development of drugs. Topics included the epidemiology, challenges to assessing disease progression, potential biomarkers, difficulties evaluating long-term benefits to the patient, and other challenges to achieving FDA approval. The workshop was co-sponsored by the FDA and the AF.
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OA Drug Development Workshop Technical Highlights

A technical overview of the workshop, including clinical research challenges, biomarkers, and assessment of disease progression by AF Science Staff
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Raman needle arthroscopy for in vivo molecular assessment of cartilage

This manuscript describes research regarding a new type of diagnostic technology, “optical biopsy”, for cartilage of OA patients. This project was led by Arthritis Foundation funded scientist Michael Albro. This project was funded by the Arthritis Foundation.
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The QIBA Profile for MRI-based Compositional Imaging of Knee Cartilage

Technical description of a new MRI technique for imaging knee cartilage to show biomechanical and microstructural changes for early OA. This project was led by Arthritis Foundation funded scientist Xiaojuan Li. Aspects of this project was funded by and contains contributions from the Arthritis Foundation and AF Science Staff.
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FDA Workshop

FDA Workshop

We partner with numerous academic, medical and other research institutions and other entities. In 2021, we convened a meeting of leading experts in OA with representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss the challenges and opportunities to finding new drug treatments for OA.

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FDA Workshop

Past Research Initiatives

Our research efforts today build upon years of past discoveries and initiatives. They have guided and honed our scientific focus and priorities to move closer to delivering on initiatives that will have meaningful results for patients.

Past Research Initiatives
OA Fellows in Training Bootcamp (FIT)
Osteoarthritis Voice of the Patient

Richard Lartey, PhD

Meet Richard Lartey, PhD, who is using his math skills to help validate a new kind of MRI technology that measures the status of cartilage and soft tissues in OA and other joint disorders
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Reza Jafarzadeh, PhD

Reza Jafarzadeh, PhD, is evaluating already approved drugs to determine whether they may be effective to treat or prevent osteoarthritis.
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