New program at Henry Ford Cancer Institute will increase minority representation in clinical trials

Detroit-based Henry Ford Cancer Institute has launched a community-based research effort to increase the number of African Americans and other minority groups included in clinical trials for cancer, the health system said March 11. 

The project, Participatory Action for Access to Clinical Trials, is a collaboration between Henry Ford and the Detroit Community-Academic Urban Research Center, among other community-based partners. The initiative aims to remove clinical trial barriers related to trust and participation. 

The team will focus on clinical trials for breast, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers, which are all known to disproportionately affect African Americans. 

"We can't change the past, but we have to ask, 'How do we work together to change the future?' African Americans have told us they want to be present in the design of the clinical trial so they know what's involved and who will be accountable," said Evelyn Jiagge, MD, PhD, principal investigator of the project and lead investigator of breast cancer research at Henry Ford. 

The effort is backed by a $750,000 grant from Genentech. 

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