Building Trust – Live on DETV

This week, GEI Founder and Director, Eric B. Kmiec PhD, participated in an important conversation with colleagues and the community about Building Trust: Reducing Disparities in Clinical Trials. Aired live on DETV , the subject of equitable inclusion of people of color in medical research is especially important to the Gene Editing Institute as our therapeutic research moves its way through the FDA’s Investigational New Drug process.

The Building Trust panel was moderated by fellow scientist, Jayatri Das, Ph.D., Chief Bioscientist, The Franklin Institute, and in addition to Dr. Kmiec featured Jacqueline Crawford, RN, patient/participant in a breast cancer clinical trial, Anya Harry, M.D., Ph.D., Global Head, Global Demographics and Diversity, GlaxoSmithKline and Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBioethics, John Russell Dickson, M.D., Presidential Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Das asked questions to demystify clinical trials, including “what is a clinical trial?” and she acknowledged injustices related to medical research that have happened in the past as a root cause of mistrust. Dr. Kmiec mentioned that the research behind clinical trials goes through enormous scrutiny before anything is offered to real people.

Jacqui talked about her experience as an African American woman who has participated in a clinical trial for breast cancer. As an operating room nurse, she was surprised when she heard that “not too many minorities participate in clinical trials.” That motivated her even more. It was a win-win for her on a personal level and to ensure that people of her racial background were represented in this important work.  Holly talked about safeguards that have been put in place such as informed consent and Institutional Review Boards that provide rigorous regulation and oversight. Anya added the perspective from inside a global pharmaceutical company. She talked about the highly intentional nature of her work and its focus on balancing all demographics, not only by race but by gender. The effectiveness of drugs can vary based on these factors.