Osteoarthritis is one of the most disabling diseases with indisputable impact on the individual, society and economy. Despite spectacular advancements of modern medicine, ironically, the only successful therapy for advanced OA is still gross joint replacement surgery. This is largely due to the lack of effective biomarkers to detect early degeneration and monitor the effect of potential and emerging treatments. Novel MRI techniques for the evaluation of articular cartilage and subchondral bone are proposed to overcome this limitation. The development process of novel MRI technologies and contrasts are discussed, including the continuum from in vitro validation to animal model systems and in vivo implementation for studying human subjects.)