FDA, researchers work to make clinical trials more diverse

FDA, researchers work to make clinical trials more diverse

The U.S. population is becoming more diverse, but clinical trials don't reflect that, experts say. Some are focusing on recruiting minorities to participate in research.

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Nestled in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood, a new mural outside Guadalupe Centers Middle School in Kansas City, Missouri imparts a powerful message: “Clinical Research Needs Representation.” The colorful portraits painted above those words feature four cancer survivors of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Two individuals identify as Hispanic, one as African American and another as Native American.

One of the patients depicted in the mural is Kim Jones, a 51-year-old African American breast cancer survivor since 2012. She advocated for an African American friend who participated in several clinical trials for ovarian cancer. Her friend was diagnosed in an advanced stage at age 26 but lived nine more years, thanks to the trials testing new therapeutics. “They are definitely giving people a longer, extended life and a better quality of life,” said Jones, who owns a nail salon. And that’s the message the mural aims to send to the community: Clinical trials need diverse participants.

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Susan Kreimer
Susan Kreimer is a New York-based freelance journalist who has followed the landscape of health care since the late 1990s, initially as a staff reporter for major daily newspapers. She writes about breakthrough studies, personal health, and the business of clinical practice. Raised in the Chicago area, she holds a B.A. in Journalism/Mass Communication and French, with minors in German and Russian, from the University of Iowa and an M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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