April 2001 Bulletin

AAOS urges 15% increase in NIAMS research funding

At a time when the aging population poses an enormous future demand for joint replacements and other health care services and science is on the brink of dramatic advances in cellular biology, the AAOS is urging more federal funding for musculoskeletal research.

Gary E. Friedlaender, MD, chairman of the AAOS Research Committee, urged a congressional panel last month to provide $457 million for the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases in fiscal year 2002, a 15 percent increase.

"NIAMS leads the federal effort on research into the basic understanding, causes, treatment and prevention of disorders and diseases of bone, muscle and other connective tissues," he told the House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. "While funding for NIAMS has steadily increased over the past few years, the Academy is concerned that funding has not kept pace with the allocations to other NIH institutes, especially considering that musculoskeletal conditions are among the most common chronic conditions affecting the U.S. population." Between 1988 and 1995, the total cost of musculosketelal conditions rose by 70 percent to $254 billion.

With Dr. Friedlaender were two teenage patients, Allison Gaffey and Daniel Kayne, "who now lead full lives after treatment for their malignant bone tumors. Prompt and accurate diagnosis of their condition led to early and successful treatment and rehabilitation." He outlined their treatment, adding "all of the diagnosis and treatment approaches have resulted from NIH-sponsored research."

When he entered clinical practice and began his research career 25 years ago, Dr. Friedlaender said the survival rate for osteosarcoma was about 15 percent. "Today, nearly 70 to 80 percent are cured of this malignant bone tumor, and their limbs ands lives are restored to good health and productivity."

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