Reaching Out to Minorities for Breast Cancer Clinical Trials

By Elizabeth Fernandez – It’s a matter of fairness: members of all ethnic groups should have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials.

And it’s a matter of soundness, too: medical advancements must be tested in as many different people with as many different genetic makeups as possible.

Federally-funded research requires the inclusion of minorities and women but many barriers, including a lack of information and access, tend to prevent minorities and poor women from participating in breast cancer trials.

To figure out how to remedy the problem, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is teaming with Shanti Project, Inc., a community-based organization in San Francisco that provides assistance and emotional support to underserved women with breast cancer and people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The study begins in November.

“We want to provide underserved women with breast cancer the same opportunities as other women to learn about clinical trials and to participate if they wish,’’ said Galen Joseph, PhD, UCSF principal investigator of the study  funded by the California Breast Cancer Research Program.

Shanti breast cancer “navigators’’ will work closely with the researchers to develop appropriateeducation materials and test them out with Shanti clients. The researchers hope to bring the projectto other communities around the country.

“We want to provide underserved women with breast cancer the same opportunities as other women to learn about clinical trials…’’