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Vol. LVIII, No. 11
June 2, 2006

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NIAMS at 20
Historical Perspective

Throughout our 20-year history, NIAMS has supported research and programs that have improved the lives of people with some of the most chronic, costly and common disorders of our time. A sampling of the institute's successes might include:

  • The discovery that treatment with cyclophosphamide and prednisone prevents or delays kidney failure due to lupus nephritis, one of the most serious complications of the disease.

  • A registry for people with the blistering skin disorder epidermolysis bullosa that resulted in new diagnostic methods, disease criteria and a technique for wound-healing in certain forms of the disease.

“From the outset, we gave high priority to research on women’s and minority health in such diseases as osteoporosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. As we do today, we had a talented and devoted staff.” — Dr. Lawrence E. Shulman, director emeritus

  • The Osteoarthritis Initiative, a public-private partnership to speed discovery of biological markers for changes in bone or cartilage critical to diagnosing and monitoring OA, developing new treatments and identifying people at risk for the disease or its progression.

  • A concerted effort to hasten scientific progress in our understanding of the muscular dystrophies.

  • Advances in therapies for osteoporosis and dramatic progress in joint replacements.

  • The Health Partnership Program, a collaborative effort between NIAMS and local community representatives to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with rheumatic diseases and their complications, particularly in Washington, D.C.-area African-American and Hispanic/Latino communities.

We remain committed to solving the mysteries of bone, joint, muscle and skin conditions, and look forward to the discoveries the next decade will bring!