Black Patients Miss Out on Promising Cancer Drugs

Sep 20, 2018 | Clinical Research Disparities

Caroline Chen and Riley Wong of ProPublica reports on a promising new drug for multiple myeloma, one of the most savage blood cancers. Called Ninlaro, it can be taken as a pill which spares patients painful injections or cumbersome IV treatments. In a video sponsored by the manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., one patient even hailed Ninlaro as “my savior.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Ninlaro in 2015 after patients in a clinical trial gained an average of six months without their cancer spreading. However, the trial had a major shortcoming: its racial composition. Of the 722 participants in the trial, only 13 — or 1.8 percent — were black. This presents a significant flaw in the study as research has found that one out of five people diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the U.S. is black, and African Americans are more than twice as likely as white Americans to be diagnosed with the blood cancer. This creates a significant disparity in research to demographic functions.

*A note to see TrialSite News Clinical Research Disparities Survey—with a focus on African Americans and recruitment challenges.


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