Four pharmaceuticals have joined the National Institutes of Health to find early warning signs and potential drug targets for osteoarthritis. The Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) will provide approximately $8 million a year over the next five-to-seven years to support clinical data collection from 5,000 people at high-risk for osteoarthritis. GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer have each committed $800,000, and the majority of federal funding comes from the coffers of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) and the National Institute on Aging. Most of the patient data, which will include X-ray and magnetic resonance images, will be made available to all members of the scientific community in hopes that biological markers for this disease can be discovered giving all drug researchers a foothold in developing treatments. Nonrenewable biosamples will be open to competitors under the condition that they make public what they find. Joan McGowan,...
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