Pharma companies using tech to make drug clinical trials more diverse

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Drugmakers are using technology to increase access to drug clinical trials and make them more equitable, The Wall Street Journal reported March 28. 

Minorities are often underrepresented in drug clinical trials, which means scientists are less aware of how drugs affect people of various races differently, according to the Journal

Cancer patients of different races may respond differently to a drug because of genetic differences in their tumors or differences in the way they metabolize the drug, Jonathon Loree, MD, a medical oncologist at BC Cancer in British Columbia, Canada, told the Journal. Underrepresented trials also make it hard to assess a drug's risks and benefits for all patients. 

Technology makes it possible for pharmaceutical researchers to recruit people from more diverse communities for trials.Wearable devices and telemedicine allow patients to participate in trials from their homes, giving access to people without reliable transportation, the Journal reported. 

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the pharmaceutical industry's top lobbying body, and the FDA have both called on researchers to consider using technology to reduce the need for participants to visit trial sites, the Journal reported. They've both also issued recommendations to increase clinical trial diversity. 

Researchers are also able to mine electronic health records to find patients who qualify for clinical trials but who may not have been offered the chance to participate in them. 

Read the full article here

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