Manmeet Ahluwalia, MD, MBA, chief, Solid Tumor Medical Oncology; deputy director; and chief scientific officer at Miami Cancer Institute, spoke on the short- and long-term goals for Miami Cancer Institute’s Center for Equity in Cancer Care & Research in improving minority patient enrollment in clinical trials.
Minorities are underrepresented in clinical trials that lead to FDA approval of drugs, and the Center for Equity in Cancer Care & Research aims to address this issue by building trust with patients in the community and addressing social determinants of health that impede care access, said Manmeet Ahluwalia, MD, MBA, chief; Solid Tumor Medical Oncology; deputy director; and chief scientific officer at Miami Cancer Institute.
What short- and long-term goals does the Center for Equity in Cancer Care & Research have for improving clinical trial participation, particularly for underrepresented minority groups?
We know from various efforts that minorities are underrepresented in clinical trials that lead to FDA approval of drugs. And as we are aware, only 5% to 6% of Hispanics or African Americans participate in trials that lead to FDA approval of drugs, where 90%-plus of these patients are Caucasian in origin.
So, a big emphasis of our Center with the Hispanic patients that we see or African American patients that we see is to build trust. And for this, we are partnering up with faith-based organizations to establish grassroot levels to build trust with patients for access to clinical trials. We often get our consents translated in Spanish; a number of our patients may not be able to understand the consents in English. This is to make efforts to maximize their ability to participate in clinical trials.
We are also working on various efforts with Florida International University to implement efforts to mitigate social determinants of health, which impact the minority enrollment to clinical trials. We have partnered up recently in programs with the American Society of Clinical Oncology to learn efforts to, again, improve minority enrollment to clinical trials.
Our effort is to increase the minority enrollment to clinical trials by 50% in the next 2 to 3 years, and hopefully double in the next 5 years, as we embark in our journey to further support our patients not only in South Florida, but also the patients that we see at Baptist Health, South Florida, coming from the Caribbean, or countries in Latin America.