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Power of Diversity in Clinical Trial Recruitment

increase clinical trial diversity

Introduction:

Race, age, gender, and ethnicity can influence how people react to the same medicine or vaccine. This is why it is critical to have increase Clinical Trial diversity. The more diverse a group of Clinical Trial participants, the more we can learn about a potential medicine or vaccine’s safety and efficacy for people now and in the future.

It is both morally and scientifically necessary to increase Clinical Trial diversity. Understanding the safety & effectiveness of novel therapies across populational subgroups is hampered by a lack of diversity in Research. This is why it is essential to eradicate disparities & advance equity in healthcare. Furthermore, it is detrimental that minority racial and ethnic groups are strikingly underrepresented and continue to be so in Clinical Trials. At Revival Research Institute we strongly believe in making Clinical Trials accessible to all, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.

What are Clinical Trials?

Clinical Trials are research studies that use human volunteers to assess the safety and effectiveness of medical products such as medications, vaccines, or devices. They are the primary method by which scientists determine whether a new therapy, such as a new drug, diet, or medical device (such as a pacemaker), is safe and effective in people. A Clinical Trial is frequently used to find out whether a new treatment is more efficient or has fewer adverse side effects than the standard treatment.

Some Clinical Trials test methods for early disease detection before symptoms even appear. Other research strategies are dedicated to health condition prevention. A Clinical Trial may also examine methods for enhancing the quality of life for people who have chronic illnesses or life-threatening diseases. Clinical Trials occasionally examine how caregivers or support networks function.

Ensuring that people from diverse backgrounds participate in Clinical Trials is essential to advancing health equity.

What is Diversity in Clinical Trials Recruitment?

To increase Clinical Trial diversity, participants must be of various ages, sexes, races, and ethnicity in Clinical Trials. The results of research involving a similar group of people may not apply to or benefit everyone. The study findings might be much more broadly applicable when Clinical Trials involve a collection of race and ethnicity in Clinical Trials.

diversity in clinical trials recruitment

To better understand how new drugs, therapies, medical devices, surgical techniques, or tests, sponsors, sites, or recruiting companies look for ways to connect with people who might be qualified for their trial during the Clinical Trial patient recruitment process.

A multi-step process is used to increase inclusivity and diversity in the Clinical Trial recruitment process. It begins with thorough patient population research and the creation of an individual outreach plan. A Clinical Trial’s success depends on having a diverse sample because it helps determine whether an adverse reaction is caused by the drug or medical device before it is marketed.

What are the Challenges Faced in Implementing Diversity in Clinical Trial Recruitment?

It is a well-known problem that the research community is currently dealing with racial and ethnic minorities being underrepresented in Clinical Trials. Increase Clinical Trial diversity allows for the safe development of new medications. People respond to medical treatments differently depending on a range of factors, such as gender, race, age, weight, and ethnicity.

The research community is still having trouble finding enough patients for Clinical Trials as well as recruiting participants from diverse and representative populations. Finding enough of the right patients is one of the biggest challenges in clinical development due to the exponential rise in highly complex Clinical Trials. Disparities in gender and ethnic diversity can make it more difficult to develop new treatments and can make minority health problems worse. You cannot identify or minimize various drug effects of a study in a given population without diverse representation.

Why are Minorities Underrepresented in Clinical Trials?

Minorities rarely participate in trials for a variety of reasons, many of which have been identified that include:

  • Lack of trust in the research community,
  • Logistical and time constraints, and
  • A lack of awareness of Clinical Trials.

Another obstacle that demands government action is the lack of thorough and reliable data on race and ethnicity in the computerized patient databases used by an increasing number of clinical providers. Such databases, with the patient’s permission, provide quick and efficient ways to locate individuals who meet specific clinical criteria. This results in Clinical Trials that are diverse and multiethnic a.k.a. increased Clinical Trial diversity. They can then be approached if they are interested in taking part in trials. The creation of diverse cohorts and the advancement of ethnicity Clinical Trials would benefit greatly from the inclusion of accurate race and ethnicity data that is searchable in these databases.

The development of data sources from which various Clinical Trial groups could be more efficiently and securely put together would be encouraged by a variety of public policy initiatives, but it will still be difficult to overcome these obstacles of Clinical Trial diversity.

A History of Medical Mistrust:

People of color are frequently skeptical, if not distrustful, of medical research, as a result of medicine’s dark history of exploitation and unethical experimentation on minority populations. People of color face access barriers to quality health care as a result of socioeconomic challenges as well as bias and discrimination in medicine — and less access to health care means less access to the doctors who typically connect patient volunteers to pharmaceutical Clinical Trials which can be a barrier in increase Clinical Trial diversity.

All of these factors combine to make racial/ethnic minority populations underrepresented in Clinical Trials, implying that specific outreach strategies are required to ensure equal access and build trust between researchers and racial/ethnic minority populations.

How can we Improve Diversity in Clinical Trial Recruitment?

The most common techniques used to achieve Increase Clinical Trial diversity in Clinical Trial recruitment are digital advertising, partnerships, campaigns, print media, and websites. Diverse populations can balance inclusion and exclusion criteria that balance scientific requirements with participants’ actual experiences, ensuring that a trial addresses actual patient needs. The campaign materials should graphically reflect the diversity of the target population. Recruitment materials should also incorporate participant feedback and reflect the viewpoints that participants are communicating to one another.

improve diversity in clinical trial

Successful Clinical Trials depend on involving communities of color in the creation of recruitment strategies and marketing collateral that appeal to a range of target markets. Participants are more likely to connect with imagery that reflects who they are and what is important to them. These are simple tactics that can help improve Clinical Trial diversity.

Diversity in Clinical Trial recruitment necessitates promoting equality. Everyone should be given the chance to participate, voice their opinions, and aid those in their communities. An individual’s decision to participate in a Clinical Trial should be discussed with their doctor and their support network, which includes family and friends.

What is the Importance of Increase Clinical Trial Diversity?

Clinical Trial participants are people who will use the medical products. People from racial and ethnic minorities, as well as other diverse groups, are frequently underrepresented in clinical research. This is a cause for concern because people of various ages, races, and ethnicities may react differently to medical products. And it can even be considered an obstacle in increase Clinical Trial diversity. We are committed to changing this to achieve health equity and ensure that all people can benefit from Clinical Trials.

Participating in a Clinical Trial may be a good option for you:

  • When standard treatments have failed, you and your doctor believe that a Clinical Trial may provide an alternative.
  • If you want to assist in the testing of new medical products or therapies for the diverse patients who are likely to use them.
  • If you want to assist researchers in discovering new ways to combat disease

Digital Health Technologies: Improving Clinical Trial Diversity & Accessibility 

Access is a major barrier to participation which can hinder Clinical Trial diversity. Clinical Trials are frequently held at large regional hospitals in urban areas, requiring participants to travel to the sites for multiple study visits that can last several hours. Visits are typically only available during normal business hours. Time off work, transportation or hotel costs, and caregiver or childcare demands all add to the potential barriers to study participation and may disproportionately affect underserved groups.

Virtual Clinical Trials can make research more accessible to people who would not otherwise participate in site-based research. Improvements in participant recruitment and retention increased involvement and diversity, and a reduction in trial costs are additional benefits.

Clinical Trials can be conducted entirely remotely or through a hybrid approach that requires some physical site attendance as well. They are carried out using direct-to-patient drug delivery, home health professionals, community labs, digital consent, data collection, and remote monitoring and diagnostics. These studies are intended to reduce the need for face-to-face interactions between researchers and participants while increasing the diversity of Clinical Trial recruitment.

Steps to Increase Clinical Trial Diversity:

The industry must consider outreach programs holistically to increase trust among communities and the general population. Furthermore, research teams must consider changing recruitment and trial designs to increase Clinical Trial Diversity. There is a need for regulators to play a larger role in encouraging and legislating best practices.

Strategic interventions to increase Clinical Trial diversity at each stage of the trial process can also be enabled by digital solutions. For example, site selection software can be used to determine the demographics of the surrounding patient population, allowing researchers to better target communities from which they wish to recruit patients.

Following the selection of a site, enrollment statistics can be tracked and augmented with artificial intelligence, providing real-time insights into potential patient representation within trials. Study teams can then modify their recruitment practices as needed, and automating some of these processes can save both money and time. Automation may also aid in the collection of this data in the first place in more trials.

Increase Clinical Trial Diversity Recruitment:

Additionally, the following measures can be taken to ensure the inclusion of underrepresented groups and to increase diversity in Clinical Trial Recruitment:

  • Look into the particular issues that each minority population has, then develop an appropriate health policy plan to deal with each issue. Important professional associations should implement policies to increase the participation of minorities in Clinical Trials, and the FDA should prioritize diverse enrollment.
  • Recognize the critical role of socioeconomic factors in determining health and how they affect how minorities participate in clinical research and ethnicity Clinical Trials. It is important to develop efficient mitigation strategies for the socioeconomic disparities that disproportionately affect minority communities.
  • Create initiatives to increase health literacy and awareness with the help of neighborhood organizations and community leaders. In comparison to the national average, minorities are given fewer opportunities for screening.

The following are just a few ways local organizations can assist minorities in increasing their health literacy:

  • Visual aids can be used by neighborhood organizations like churches and community groups to explain screening and other Clinical Trial services.
  • Create offline and online social support groups for cancer patients.
  • The screening and enrollment processes can be used at carnivals, fairs, and neighborhood events.
  • Awareness-raising activities on regional radio stations.
  • They are increasing the participation of underrepresented groups in Clinical Trials by extending the trial’s eligibility guidelines. The consensus is that comorbid conditions affect minorities more frequently. Therefore, more accommodating eligibility standards will boost minority involvement and participation in the Clinical Trial.
  • Minority recruitment for Clinical Trials should start during Phase I of the trial’s design. As a result, it will be simpler to identify early toxicity or efficacy cues. As a result of the increased representation, the public health continuum will gain from better disease prediction and treatment options.
  • Get in touch with Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs), which may help spread awareness of Clinical Trials. One of the main issues with Clinical Trials is a lack of trust. Organizations with strong community and religious ties can make significant contributions to developing the necessary trust.

The actions mentioned above would encourage an increase Clinical Trial diversity and improve them.

What is the FDA’s View on Clinical Trial Diversity?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued draft guidance titled “Diversity Plans to Improve Enrollment of Participants from Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Populations in Clinical Trials”. The Guidance requires manufacturers of FDA-regulated medical products to develop a Race and Ethnicity Diversity Plan to recruit a sufficient number of people from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups to participate in Clinical Trials of their products and to increase diversity and ethnicity Clinical Trials.

FDA View on clinical trial

The FDA encourages people of all backgrounds to participate in Clinical Trials. Participants in Clinical Trials must come from a variety of backgrounds to advance health equality and increase Clinical Trial diversity. Clinical Trials should include patients who will use the medicinal products. However, it contradicts common practice, in which people of various racial and cultural backgrounds are marginalized in clinical research. This is concerning because different age groups, races, and ethnic groups may react differently to specific medical products, and it requires attention.

Role of Pharmaceuticals in Promoting Increase Clinical Trial Diversity:

To ensure interaction with underrepresented communities and to encourage CROs, pharmaceutical should increase a few tactics to bring about change. This includes increased diversity awareness campaigns and increased regulatory involvement. They have the potential to have a big impact as a sector and increase Clinical Trial diversity. The COVID-19 vaccination studies showed that increasing the diversity of Clinical Trials improves understanding of a drug’s mechanism of action and raises a drug’s acceptability among patients.

The Clinical Trial process underwent a significant change as a result of COVID-19. Vaccines that catered to all communities of color had to be developed as the world was being hit by a deadly pandemic. This gave rise to the notion of inclusivity and diversity in Clinical Trials. Pharmaceuticals are constantly working to adopt the best practices to promote inclusivity and increase Clinical Trial diversity as disease states evolve.

Takeaway:

Clinical Trials can help to improve and extend people’s lives while also increasing knowledge about advanced therapeutics. There are several barriers to participation in a Clinical Trial for people of different races and ethnicities. Medical skepticism and stringent exclusion criteria can be barriers. Access, travel, and additional costs are also issues that make it difficult for people to participate in Clinical Trials.

Clinical Trials that are more inclusive and truly represent the population benefit us all. To increase Clinical Trial diversity, change at all levels is required. Pharmaceuticals and Clinical Research Organizations can advance Clinical Trials by implementing significant strategies to include diversity in Clinical Trials. This will benefit the medical community as well as the development of wholesome neighborhoods.

Revival Research Institute continues to work to include a broader range of participants in Clinical Trials in order to ensure that the medicines we develop work for our diverse patient base. To achieve diverse representation in our Clinical Trials, we will need to set specific, measurable goals.

Dr. Anusia Thourani

Author Dr. Anusia Thourani

Dr. Anusia is a Dentist and currently working as a Recruitment Associate at Revive Research Institute. Her cheerful personality and enthusiasm for her work in this organization make her a great part of our team.

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