Targeting treatment

GRU Cancer Center will better enable much-needed minority cancer care

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The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in many instances, especially health care.

Race and ethnicity play roles in disease prevalence, as well as how patients respond to drugs and other therapies.

Unfortunately, developing better, more tailored treatments for minorities remains a challenge because of their low participation rate in clinical trials that could identify novel treatments or identify a drug’s potential side effects.

That’s why this community should be encouraged by Georgia Regents University Cancer Center’s plan to increase African-American participation in clinical cancer trials through an in-state network funded by a $3.2 million federal grant.

The GRU Cancer Center grant was one of only 12 awarded nationally by the National Cancer Institute. The outreach network, called the GRU NCI Community Oncology Research Program Minority/Underserved Community Site, will include Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta; University Cancer and Blood Center in Athens; and Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

“It will help us in reaching out to our underserved community,” GRU Cancer Center Director Samir N. Khleif said.

Nonwhites account for less than 5 percent of clinical trial participants nationwide, and only 2 percent of clinical cancer studies focus on non-white ethnic groups, according to a University of California-Davis study.

Studies have shown cost, transportation issues and cultural differences play roles in lower minority participation in clinical trials. Additionally, blacks have trust issues stemming from the notorious Tuskegee Syphilis Study experiments conducted in Alabama decades ago by the U.S. Public Health Service.

The government has sought to enhance participation in recent years by requiring NIH-funded research to include minorities. And the recent Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act requires that clinical trials submitted to the FDA include reports on safety and effectiveness data based on sex, age, race and ethnicity.

Nationally, blacks make up 12 percent of the population but less than 8 percent of clinical trial participants. With blacks making up a substantial percentage of patients at GRU’s clinical affiliates, GRU is in a good position to help clarify cancer disparities in African-Americans while delivering state-of-the-art care that could make an important difference in their outcomes.

The GRU Cancer Center already has conducted clinical trials on cancers that disproportionately affect minorities, such as triple-negative breast cancer, a more aggressive form of the disease commonly diagnosed in black women.

White women have a 7 percent higher incidence of breast cancer and a 9 percent higher incidence of cancer overall, but black women have a 26 percent higher death rate from breast cancer. Black men, for example, have almost double the rate of prostate cancer than whites, and are 2.4 times more likely to die from it.

Having the outreach program also will help with the GRU Cancer Center’s quest to become the second NCI-designated Cancer Center in the state, because it is the kind of community involvement the agency likes to see, Khleif said.

“This is clearly a major step,” he said. “It’s a highly competitive grant and we were able to get it.”

The GRU Cancer Center is an asset to the CSRA. The new grant strengthens our medical community and, hopefully, the health care it provides for all its residents.

Comments (7) Add comment
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seenitB4
97352
Points
seenitB4 08/07/14 - 07:50 am
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1
They have trust issues

Well yeh, with good reason.

I have trust issues too.

Bizkit
35507
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Bizkit 08/07/14 - 09:15 am
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0
There is great genetic

There is great genetic diversity within all human populations. Pure races, in the sense of genetically homogenous populations, do not exist in the human species today, nor is there any evidence that they have ever existed in the past.

Bizkit
35507
Points
Bizkit 08/07/14 - 09:16 am
0
0
There is no necessary

There is no necessary concordance between biological characteristics and culturally defined groups. On every continent, there are diverse populations that differ in language, economy, and culture. There is no national, religious, linguistic or cultural group or economic class that constitutes a race. However, human beings who speak the same language and share the same culture frequently select each other as mates, with the result that there is often some degree of correspondence between the distribution of physical traits on the one hand and that of linguistic and cultural traits on the other. But there is no causal linkage between these physical and behavioral traits, and therefore it is not justifiable to attribute cultural characteristics to genetic inheritance.

Bizkit
35507
Points
Bizkit 08/07/14 - 09:18 am
0
0
The human species has a past

The human species has a past rich in migration, in territorial expansions, and in contractions. As a consequence, we are adapted to many of the earth's environments in general, but to none in particular. For many millennia, human progress in any field has been based on culture and not on genetic improvement.

Mating between members of different human groups tends to diminish differences between groups, and has played a very important role in human history. Wherever different human populations have come in contact, such matings have taken place. Obstacles to such interaction have been social and cultural, not biological. The global process of urbanization, coupled with intercontinental migrations, has the potential to reduce the differences among all human populations.

Bizkit
35507
Points
Bizkit 08/07/14 - 09:19 am
1
0
All humans living today

All humans living today belong to a single species, Homo sapiens, and share a common descent. Although there are differences of opinion regarding how and where different human groups diverged or fused to form new ones from a common ancestral group, all living populations in each of the earth's geographic areas have evolved from that ancestral group over the same amount of time. Much of the biological variation among populations involves modest degrees of variation in the frequency of shared traits. Human populations have at times been isolated, but have never genetically diverged enough to produce any biological barriers to mating between members of different populations.

Bizkit
35507
Points
Bizkit 08/07/14 - 09:21 am
1
0
So there is no real "race"

So there is no real "race" especially in the US which has numerous ethnicities which have interbred since the beginning.

corgimom
38349
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corgimom 08/07/14 - 03:43 pm
0
0
I was part of the MCG

I was part of the MCG research scandal, I was one of the victims.

So yeah, I wouldn't do it either.

I will never, ever participate in a research study that involves medications, ever again.

"Let somebody else be the guinea pig"- from my wonderful doctor in Evans. Couldn't agree with him more.

Live and learn.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 08/07/14 - 07:26 pm
0
0
Okay. I have to admit, I've only been on here ..
Unpublished

for a couple of years, but .... corgimom, seriously, has there ever been an issue or event mentioned in chronicle articles with which you have not had a personal experience? Just wondering.

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