Ensuring Diversity in Clinical Trials to Develop Breakthroughs for All™
While most people are likely familiar with the concept of a clinical trial, they may not be as familiar with its purpose. For Pfizer, delivering lifesaving treatments for all means ensuring that our clinical trials accurately represent the diverse communities impacted by the diseases we seek to treat or prevent. As part of these efforts, Breakthroughs for All™ is Pfizer’s commitment to diverse and inclusive participation in clinical trials through equitable access and practices.
Race, ethnicity, age, biological sex, and cultural background all inform how effective vaccines and medicines are for individual people. Pfizer has increased its efforts to design and conduct clinical trials that more accurately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the locations where our trials are conducted and the epidemiology of the diseases we intend to treat or prevent.
To accomplish this goal, we must proactively, intentionally, and regularly address the historic barriers that have partially resulted in underrepresentation in clinical trials, including community mistrust and lack of clinical trial awareness. Building trust and increasing awareness in diverse communities requires strong relationships with influential and embedded community organizations, including major universities, research organizations, and trusted community voices in local pharmacies, hospitals, and religious institutions.
One example is our recent partnership with the Tigerlily Foundation to launch Health Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership (HEAL) sessions to advance education around clinical trials for Black women with breast cancer. This effort is critically important as, in addition to historic underrepresentation in breast cancer clinical trials,1 Black women are often diagnosed at a later stage and have a worse prognosis compared to white women.2 During these sessions, we focus on shedding light on the breast cancer journey for women of color, improving access to breast cancer clinical trials, building trust and enhancing relationships between cancer patients and their care providers, and identifying barriers and solutions to improve access to trials, with the intent that this knowledge will be shared across other treatment areas.
“Every person deserves the right to a healthy life, and our effort to improve diversity in clinical trials to increase the overall population’s benefit from clinical research is a matter of equity. Our work alongside Tigerlily aims to empower Black women with breast cancer, who are at a higher risk of disease but less likely to enroll in a clinical trial that may prove to be lifesaving. Our goal – through this partnership and others like it – is to provide communities with the knowledge to feel more educated and supported to participate in clinical trials, furthering the real-life impact of important scientific discovery," said Judy Sewards, Pfizer Vice President, Head of Clinical Trial Experience.
Although there is still work to be done, we have made important progress in raising awareness, building trust, and increasing access to clinical trials for even more people. Breakthroughs for All™ are made possible by those who choose to participate in clinical trials, and we’re committed to working closely with all potential partners, including communities, their leaders, and industry professionals, to not only ensure that all who are interested in joining a clinical trial have the right information and opportunity to do so, but also that the therapies we bring to market are truly beneficial to patients and their families.
- Bonner D, Cragun D, Reynolds M, Vadaparampil ST, Pal T. Recruitment of a Population-Based Sample of Young Black Women with Breast Cancer through a State Cancer Registry. Breast J. 2016 Mar-Apr;22(2):166-72. doi: 10.1111/tbj.12545. Epub 2015 Dec 14. PMID: 26661631; PMCID: PMC4775403.
- ACS, American Cancer Society (2016) Breast cancer facts & figures, 2015–2016. 2016. American Cancer Society, Atlanta