New Chicago research center targets diversity in clinical trials

CHICAGO - A new research center hopes to engage Chicago's Black and brown communities in clinical trials.

While FDA data from 2020 showed that 75 percent of trial participants were white, with only 11 percent Hispanic and 8 percent Black, LaToya Hinton Howery is determined to shift this trend.

Having established a clinical research center in Texas previously, she opened Next Innovative Clinical Research in Bronzeville last year, specifically targeting minority communities for involvement.

Among those participating in clinical trials at the center are Carla Tate-Anderson and Daphne Callen, both enrolled in a trial for women with fibroids.

Fibroids disproportionately affect Black women, with 80 percent of premenopausal women experiencing them.

Despite the prevalence, many have been offered limited options like surgery or enduring the condition untreated. Clinical trials offer hope for finding effective treatments tailored to diverse populations impacted by the illness.

Dr. Teriya Richmond, the principal investigator overseeing the project, highlighted the importance of inclusive trials, particularly as new medical treatments enter the market. She emphasized the necessity of understanding how different genetic backgrounds may influence treatment outcomes, stressing that trials must reflect the diversity of the population they aim to serve.

There are challenges to overcome, including historical mistrust in medical research stemming from events like the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. LaToya Hinton-Howery acknowledges these concerns, but emphasizes the potential benefits of participation and the importance of addressing fears surrounding clinical trials.

Efforts to increase diversity in clinical trials are underway, with a bill in Illinois aimed at this goal currently under consideration in the Senate.

A public health hearing on this matter is scheduled for May 7 in Springfield.