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Group seeks greater diversity in clinical research

Thursday, October 1, 2015

First of two parts

In 2006, a trial led to a “black box warning label” for an asthma medi­cation found to have a disproportion­ally increased death rate. It revealed that respiratory-related deaths oc­curred four times more often in Af­rican-Americans who took the drug.

In 2007, additional studies showed that long-acting beta-antagonist drugs worsen asthma due to down-regulation of b-adrenergic system as a result of the stimulation of b-recep­tors. This genotype affects roughly one-sixth of U.S. citizens and may be more prevalent in specific minorities, including African-Americans.

These studies are a classic example of why it is important all subgroups be appropriately represented in research.

Ensuring meaningful representa­tion of minorities in trials is a primary goal of the Consortium for Diversity in Clinical Research, which was orga­nized in 2011. CDCR is a group of ex­perienced sites, with a vested interest in increasing diversity in all aspects of clinical research trials, including Principal Investigators and subjects.

The sites represent 50 investigators collaborating on trials in multiple therapeutic areas. Sites are located in Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Ten­nessee and Texas; they are minority-owned, have a minority principal in­vestigator or oversee a large database of minority subjects.

Historically, minorities have been underserved in clinical trials. His­panics represent 16% of the popula­tion but only 1% of U.S. clinical trial participants; African-Americans rep­resent 12% of the population but only 5% of participants.

The FDA Safety and Innovation Act passed by Congress in 2012 sup­ports efforts to enhance diversity of subgroups (sex, age, race and ethnic­ity). There is greater assurance in the safety and effectiveness of investiga­tional products when there is sub­group data to analyze.

Diversity at CDCR sites promotes representation of behavioral, cultural and genetic differences—therefore ensuring drugs are effective and safe for minority populations.

Next month: More on the CDCR’s mission.


Written by Guest Writer Melissa Poindexter. Poindexter, R.N., B.S.N., is president of Advances in Health (AIH), an independent clinical research center in Houston that specializes in women’s health. AIH has collaborated in phase I-IV trials since 1998. She is a member of the Consortium for Diversity in Clinical Research (CDCR), ACRP, DIA and SCRS.

This article was reprinted from Volume 22, Issue 10, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.comSubscribe >>

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