Viewpoint: How to close racial gaps in cancer care

Increasing diversity and accessibility to clinical trials is key to closing racial gaps in cancer care, Kathy Giusti and John Carpten, MD, wrote for The Hill Jan. 24.

Ms. Giusti is the founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and Dr. Carpten is professor and chair of translational genomics at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. 

While the authors noted clinical trial diversity has improved in recent years, they said "explicit diversity targets" must be set with effective enrollment strategies tailored to the specific disease. Accessibility can be improved through reforming eligibility requirements, since patients with common ailments have been excluded from trials. 

Dr. Carpten and Ms. Giusti also suggested collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry and legislators on multiple levels to create a health system-wide market exchange.

"A common repository would benefit everyone in their shared aim of curing cancer, improving the research that fuels cutting-edge treatments, while making those treatments more accessible," the authors wrote. "And in today’s age of precision medicine, this type of collective action, rooted in the accurate representation of diverse patient populations, can only spearhead more precise treatments for all."

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