2011 Diversity Conference by Oregon Department of Transportation is licensed under CC by 2.0
Failing to recruit a diverse population of patients for clinical trials can have a negative impact on drug research. Last year, Lilly CEO John Lechleiter pointed out in a Forbes editorial that “when clinical trials are skewed toward Caucasians, researchers can miss key interactions between the drug and genes.” It’s unfortunate to think that we may be missing opportunities to create more effective treatments due to these gaps in knowledge and understanding.
National Minority Health Month and National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, observed each year in April, were created to address the issues preventing minorities from having full access to healthcare options. Among the many health-related disparities that minorities face are fewer opportunities to learn about and enroll in clinical research studies. This disparity is most pronounced in the area of cancer.
According to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), 8.2 million people die from cancer worldwide each year. And that number is set to rise. To address the cancer epidemic, the UICC organizes World Cancer Day on February 4 of each year. The day was created “to raise awareness about the disease and to develop practical strategies to address the cancer burden.”
The 2015 World Cancer Day tagline is “Not Beyond Us,” which is intended to highlight that solutions to cancer care are within reach. Four key areas of focus support this theme. For each of the four areas, UICC defines targets to achieve by the year 2025 and the challenge to achieving these targets. UICC also describes how we can overcome the challenge to meeting their targets for each focus area. Learn more about each of the focus areas here:
Click to view U.S map illustrating cancer incidence and locations of enrolling cancer clinical trials.
Last year, the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP) surveyed more than 5,700 people for an in-depth study on public and patient perceptions, motivations, and experiences with clinical research participation. The research showed the differences between where patients prefer to get their clinical trial information and where they actually get information about trials.
Many patients want to get information from their primary physician (52 percent) or their specialist (41 percent) but more people get their clinical trial information from the internet (46 percent) than from their primary physician or specialist (both 20 percent).
In December, we published our first infographic. Our goal was to start a discussion around the question: “How often do patients receive placebos in cancer clinical trials?” After digging into the data from cancer trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, we found less than a 1 percent chance of a patient receiving a placebo alone on a cancer study. The majority of placebo-based trials adminster the placebo along with standard of care treatments.
We received some great constructive feedback on the graphic from the patient advocacy and clinical research communities through our blog and Twitter. We appreciate those who asked clarifying questions and gave us suggestions for future infographics. Armed with their input, we went to work on our second infographic.