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Two years ago, with the help of the
Arthritis Foundation, we began to
 recruit patients with rheumatic
 diseases into the Arthritis Internet
 Registry (AIR). AIR is an internet-
based patient registry and biospecimen collection using the combination of the patient-study infrastructure of the NDB, the nation-wide availability of Quest Diagnostics Incorporated blood collection sites and the patient outreach of the Arthritis Foundation. Participants in AIR complete the same questionnaires as the participants in the NDB, but are noted as AIR participants due to the way they enrolled into the data bank. Some AIR participants consent to donate blood samples for the biospecimen collection. After two years, we have had over 2,000 participants join and we have collected over 300 biospecimens on a variety of rheumatic diseases.

At last year’s American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting we were able to provide an overview of the data that was collected. The data from a full one year showed that participants were from all 50 US states and RA was the main diagnosis reported by 67% of the participants, 21% reported OA, and 12% were other rheumaticdiseases (eg. 4% psoriatic arthritis, 2% lupus, 2% fibromyalgia, etc.). It also showed that participants were mainly female (89%), younger (average age of 52 years old), married (66%), college educated (86%) and on average developed their condition 14 years before joining the AIR registry.

For those of you who may not know, AIR is a groundbreaking study using the power of the internet to create a community of arthritis patients for discovery research. AIR recognizes the importance of research to improve the lives of arthritis patients and the needs of patients to discuss their disease with other patients. The purpose of AIR is to bring together a community of arthritis patients to enable discovery research and social networking via the internet. AIR has been focused on enrolling patients, collecting relevant clinical data, and collecting blood biospecimens for discovery research. Such research includes understanding genetic predictors of RA risk, cardiovascular complications and response to RA therapies. As AIR grows, we will add social networking capabilities to allow arthritis patients to communicate with other arthritis patients about their disease.