Compiling numbers on pediatric arthritis, approving Lyrica to treat Fibromyalgia, and passing FDA drug regulation and safety legislation were three of the most important arthritis-related advances in the past year, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Headquartered in Atlanta, the 60-year-old Foundation released its annual Top 10 Arthritis Advances list this month, focusing not only on medical advances in 2007, but political- and data-related as well.

One such informational advance took place last November, with an Arthritis Care & Research report quantifying the plight of pediatric arthritis sufferers in America. On the findings, USA Today reported that “about 300,000 kids in the USA suffer from some form of arthritis, including thousands who must travel for hours to get the specialized care they need … [and] about 15,000 kids with arthritis live in 11 states identified as having no pediatric rheumatologist.” The Arthritis Foundation tells us these 11 states are: Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. highlights a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey as an advancement — reporting that it quantifies “the high cost of arthritis, in which arthritis-attributable work limitation affects one in three working-age adults (aged 18-64 years) with doctor-diagnosed arthritis.” By analyzing the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, the CDC determined work limitation data estimates for every state, ranging from 25.1 percent in Nevada to 51.3 percent in Kentucky.

The article on also singles out a new “woven mesh” material that can be used to grow cartilage tissue. The material “is porous, so [it] can be seeded with cells and transplanted into a joint damaged by arthritis. The woven ‘fabric’ will be absorbed by the body, leaving only healthy, strong cartilage for those who suffer from osteoarthritis or other cartilage injuries.” Researcher Farshid Guilak, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center, and colleagues at Duke and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge are now preparing to execute the technique on mice.

“As the prevalence of arthritis continues to soar in the United States, advances made in 2007 provide the groundwork for improving the lives of the 46 million people who live with arthritis now and the 40 percent more projected to be affected by 2030,” John H. Klippel, M.D., president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation said in the article.

The Top 10 Arthritis Advances of 2007 are:

  • Passage of FDA Legislation on Drug Regulation and Safety

  • Quantification of Work Limitation and Earnings Losses
  • Projections of Increases in Doctor-Diagnosed Arthritis and Arthritis-Attributable Activity Limitation
  • Identification of RA Susceptibility Genes STAT4 and TRAF1-C5
  • Uncovering the Importance of Cadherin-11
  • Development of a Woven Mesh for Cartilage Engineering
  • Approval of Lyrica for Treatment of Fibromyalgia
  • Availability of NIH’s Osteoarthritis Data and Images
  • Quantification of Children with Arthritis and Number of Doctors Needed
  • Evidence of Benefit and Safety of Biologic Therapy in Children

“To develop its fifth annual list of the Top 10 Arthritis Advances, the Arthritis Foundation sought input from clinicians with expertise in various forms of arthritis, scientists from a wide variety of research disciplines, and organizations with an interest in arthritis and related diseases,” the article states.

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest private, not-for-profit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $380 million in research grants since 1948.

To read the full Top 10 list with source links, a news article about the list, the USA Today article on juvenile arthritis in America, or more about the Arthritis Foundation itself, click on one of the four links below:

Article References
Top 10 Arthritis Events of 2007, site accessed on 01/28/08

Arthritis Foundation Announces Top 10 Arthritis Advances of 2007, site accessed on 01/28/08

Arthritis affects kids, forces long trips for treatment, site accessed on 01/28/08

The Arthritis Foundation, site accessed on 01/28/08