Elizabeth Fernandez of University of California, San Francisco reports that UCSF is collaborating with the nonprofit Lazarex Cancer Foundation on a three-year study to identify ways to improve cancer clinical trial participation among medically underserved populations, including low-income individuals and racial and ethnic minorities. The trial will launch this month at UCSF, followed by University of Southern California (USC); and thereafter to sites nationwide. The study aims to increase trial enrollment, access and minority participation by determining the most significant financial barriers for enrollment and identifying ways to mitigate them. The study will enroll 250 patients across UCSF and USC in the first year. With the move to targeted, precision therapies come a considerable cost in the form of scans, tumor sequencing, not to mention indirect costs. The Principal Investigator, Hala Borno, MD understands these challenges and notes “UCSF ad Lazarex recognize that the indirect costs of therapy can be considerable, even unacceptable.”
The challenge of lack of minorities participating in clinical research is well known. Fewer than 5% of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials. White participants compose an estimated 83% of overall clinical trial participants. The study is called IMPACT (Improving Patient Access to Cancer Clinical Trials); it is open to all adults with solid or hematologic malignancies who are being considered for enrollment in a cancer treatment clinical trial at USF or USC.