Features March 2010 Issue

New Treatments May Halt OA Progression

Potential breakthroughs target nerve growth factor, inflammation, and other contributors to joint disease.

Nearly 27 million Americans suffer the debilitating effects of osteoarthritis (OA). Medical care for OA costs U.S. insurers and patients $185.5 billion a year, according to a study in the December 2009 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism. These figures, along with a burgeoning aging population, point to the growing need for better OA therapies. "We do have treatments for the relief of OA symptoms, including pain and stiffness, and for the improvement of quality of life," says M. Elaine Husni, MD, Vice Chair, Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Treatment Center, and Director, Clinical Outcomes Research in the Orthopaedic and Rheumatologic Institute at Cleveland Clinic. "Unfortunately, we do not yet have approved medications that slow the disease or change the course of the disease."

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