Associated Press
Saturday, March 20, 2021

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A study being conducted in three Southern states is part of an effort to determine why more Black people aren’t involved in clinical trials involving lung cancer research.

The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, working with Augusta University in Georgia and Vanderbilt University‘s medical center in Tennessee, will be part of a study to examine factors that prevent more Black people from participating in such programs.

Participation by U.S. cancer patients in clinical trials is low at around 8% in all, and the rate is still lower among racial and ethnic minority groups, a news release said. Yet the rate of lung cancer in Black men is about 30% higher than in white men, and African Americans are more likely to die from lung cancer than any other racial group.

The study will attempt to help researchers better understand barriers among African American patients in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. Professor Monica Baskin said diversity in clinic trials is essential in finding treatments that are effective for everyone.

“Good representation in trials also allows researchers to better understand patterns of difference in health and sickness based on backgrounds and behaviors that may provide more effective treatment and/or prevention,” she said in a statement.

The center at UAB will receive a $350,000 grant from a Genentech fund that tries to reduce disparities in health care, the release said.

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