Experts call for boost in clinical trial opportunities in Atlanta

The gap between the number of clinical trials and the number of participants is about 40 percent.
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 10:26 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Patients and experts in the medical field want to improve clinical trial participation by improving resources for people who participate.

As new medical tools and treatments enter the market, clinical trials have grown 25 percent in the last four years. However, the number of participants severely lags behind the growth in trial opportunities.

Mapillar Dahn, a mother of three, advocates for more clinical trial participation. Dahn’s three daughters are battling Sickle Cell Disease. Their life-saving treatments are made possible by strangers’ participation in clinical trials.

“It’s crucial that we have options when it comes to care. We cannot have therapeutics if we don’t have clinical trials,” said Dahn.

In return, Dahn’s daughters enroll in every clinical trial they can to help future patients facing the same diagnosis.

Atlanta-based technology company Florence Healthcare is also working to close the clinical trial acceleration gap.

The company reports the gap between the number of clinical trials and the number of participants is about 40 percent.

Florence Healthcare Senior Vice President of Marketing Blake Adams said minority enrollment is especially low despite a greater need for participation.

“20 percent of medical cures and therapies have different effects on different ethnicities,” explained Adams.

Adams said Florence Healthcare works to bridge the disparity by advocating for clinical trial opportunities at sites more convenient to patients. This would alleviate strain from transportation or time away from work.

“If you can activate a local pharmacy or primary care practice where a patient can go four or five days of the week, it allows them to spend more time with family and participate in the clinical trial,” he explained.

Other employees at Florence Healthcare advocate for better compensation for participants.

Dahn agreed, saying patients offer valuable information to help medical professionals.

“It is important all experts are compensated for their time,” she explained. “Without them participating, you won’t have the data that you need.”

Both Adams and Dahn said lack of trust in the medical community plays another role in the hesitancy toward clinical trials – particularly amongst minorities.

“50 percent of African Americans say they don’t trust clinical research clinical trials, but 74 percent say if their doctor recommends a clinical trial they would participate,” said Adams.

Building stronger relationships between medical professionals and those communities is essential to increasing clinical trial numbers.

“A lot has been done to minorities in the name of clinical trials, but we are literally the answer for the help we need,” said Dahn.