Tracking Knee Osteoarthritis

“Osteoarthritis is a condition that I never thought I'd be dealing with because I'm a fitness instructor and healthy. About 12 years ago, I started getting these pains, heard creaking in my knees and then the doctor told me that I had bone-on-bone in my knees. I was shocked. We need research to help us see changes earlier so that we can stop the progression.”

— Cindy Copenhaver, Arthritis Foundation Ambassador

Millions of people worldwide will experience osteoarthritis as they age, as it is the most common disorder of the joints and a major cause of disability in older adults. Despite its prevalence, there remains a lack of tools to accurately evaluate patients, which makes it difficult to develop new treatments.

In 2018, the FNIH Biomarkers Consortium launched a new project that will help physicians and patients, like Cindy Copenhaver, better understand knee osteoarthritis. Researchers will seek regulatory qualification of a new set of imaging (i.e., MRI) and biochemical (i.e., urine, serum) biomarkers that predict structural changes in the joint caused by knee osteoarthritis over time. The FNIH identified these biomarkers through a previous project and showed that they more precisely predict and monitor changes in the knee compared to the current standard that uses x-ray images. The acceptance of these biomarkers for the development of new drugs will pave the way for improved treatment options for osteoarthritis patients.