Clinical trials are essential to finding the best treatments – and potentially a cure – for malignant mesothelioma. But for these research studies to accurately indicate the efficacy of a protocol, clinical trial participant demographics must reflect actual patient populations. A recent study indicated that when it comes to precision cancer studies, minorities may be significantly underrepresented.
Harvard Study Raises Questions About Minority Representation in Mesothelioma Clinical Trials
Despite enormous strides in cancer treatment, malignant pleural mesothelioma remains an intractable disease that generally claims its victims’ lives within two years of diagnosis. The best hope for improved treatment lies in innovative protocols that are under investigation by research facilities around the world.
But in order for the safety and effectiveness of mesothelioma studies to be tested, clinical trials involving human patients need to be conducted. These studies recruit participants from diagnosed patients, and in order to accurately reflect results it is necessary for the demographics of those patients to match the larger population of those who are diagnosed with the disease. Unfortunately, a recent study conducted by Harvard Medical School and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute shows a concerning under-representation among Black and Hispanic volunteers.
Study Focused on Precision Cancer Treatment Frequently Used for Mesothelioma
The researchers analyzed enrollment of patients for trials of precision oncology treatments, which analyze patients’ tumors and then prescribe drugs based on their molecular makeup. Though study participants were restricted to those diagnosed with breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer, precision medicine is among the most promising in mesothelioma treatment.
Of the 6,000 people whose records were pulled from the SEER Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database for the research, only 10 percent were black while eighty-two percent were white. This disparity could lead to precision oncology clinical trial results being misinterpreted or misapplied. It is important for mesothelioma physicians to encourage patients from all demographic groups to participate in clinical trials to provide a more appropriate, representative balance.
If you or someone you love would like information on enrollment in mesothelioma clinical trials, the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net can help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608.FREE Mesothelioma Packet