Clinical trials becoming more inclusive across race and ethnicity, new data shows

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Clinical trials and medical research have been historically lacking in diversity among all groups.

But recent trends have been turning the tide at least a little bit toward equity and inclusivity, according to a new meta-analysis published by a team of investigators from the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine (HMSOM) and the Hackensack Meridian Health Research Institute (HMHRI).

The meta-analysis of clinical trials which included New Jersey patients from 2017 to 2022 show a snapshot of more diverse representation - and better reporting of race and ethnicity factors, according to the new paper in the Elsevier journal Global Epidemiology.

"The past five years have seen an overall uptick in the equity of race/ethnicity reporting and inclusivity of clinical trials, as compared to previously reported data, presaging the potential acquisition of ever more powerful and meaningful results of such intervention studies going forward," write the authors, including three HMSOM students.

The team used the Clinicaltrials.gov registry to identify nearly 500 clinical trials which took place at least in part in New Jersey.

Of this group of trials, greater than 97 percent reported on race and/or the ethnicity of the enrollees, according to the findings. The participation in the trials assessed collectively still showed a majority 76.7 percent White participants; but the Black participants made up about 14.1 percent of the enrollees, which is slightly higher than the 2020 U.S. Census figure (which was used as a reference standard.)

The proportion of Asian and Hispanic descent, however, was slightly lower than the corresponding Census figures.

Thus, more inclusivity work needs to be done, according to the authors.

"Our 5-year snapshot reveals that a very large percentage of trials report on race/ethnicity - and inclusivity is improving," the authors conclude. "While there is still some way to go to have the demographic numbers in these trials match U.S. Census values, our results suggest that recent efforts are having an effect."

Source:
Journal reference:

Paleoudis, E. G., et al. (2024). Improved clinical trial race/ethnicity reporting and updated inclusion profile, 2017–2022: A New Jersey snapshot. Global Epidemiology. doi.org/10.1016/j.gloepi.2023.100134.

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