Opinion: Expand community-based research to make clinical trials more diverse

Innovations in clinical trial designs and tools have the potential to unlock a new era of research that is more convenient for patients, more reflective of real-world treatment conditions, and more likely to enable participation of a diverse set of individuals. But a recent study reveals how far the U.S. is from realizing this potential: regions of the country with the worst social drivers of health are the least likely to host clinical trials.

The disconnect between need and where clinical trials are conducted is a longstanding one. But it was recently highlighted by University of Michigan researchers through an examination of demographic data for people enrolled in clinical trials for new cancer medicines. The most socially vulnerable counties were far less likely to have any nearby trial, a disparity that has worsened over time.

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