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New programme to advance diversity and inclusion in clinical trials

The Clinical Research Network West Midlands (CRN WM) is one of the first research organisations to join the new Advancing Inclusive Research Site Alliance.

Launched by Roche UK, the Advancing Inclusive Research Site Alliance aims to advance the diversity and inclusion of underserved patients throughout the company’s clinical trial programme, test recruitment and retention approaches, and establish best practices that can be used across the industry to help achieve health equity for all.

Professor Matthew Brookes, Clinical Director of CRN WM commented: “We serve a large, diverse population with a number of underserved communities in terms of health and social careresearch access. This opportunity to collaborate with our life science sector partners will help us start to address these inequalities and to improve access to health and care research for those populations.

"This collaboration will complement workstreams underway at CRN WM which are looking to tackle research inequalities and to enhance access to opportunities in research”

In addition to CRN WM, the The North West London Clinical Trials Alliance (NWL CTA), which includes Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, is also signed up to the Alliance.

The Advancing Inclusive Research Site Alliance plans to expand to more research centres in the near future. Each centre joining the Alliance will focus on enabling the participation of historically underrepresented patient groups in clinical trials, working collaboratively to share key learnings and exploring innovative ways of increasing clinical trial access for every patient who might benefit. The ultimate goal is to build a robust and sustainable clinical research ecosystem that actively includes diverse patient groups.

Richard Erwin, general manager, Roche Products Ltd, added, “Representation of real-world patient populations is critical to improve clinical outcomes and ensure health equity for all patients. The recruitment of people from minority ethnic groups is a pressing concern for researchers and the research community. We recognise we cannot drive the change alone and through the Advancing Inclusive Research Site Alliance we’re partnering with highly experienced and trusted research centers located in areas with significant patient diversity. Programmes such as this one are vital in helping us enhance the future designs of our clinical trials and ensure greater inclusion and better access to all of our clinical trials.”

Advancing Inclusive Research is vital as not all segments of the population have benefited from advances in science and medicine. There are well characterised disparities in clinical and genomic research, distinct populations have been understudied in science, underrepresented in research, and underserved by medicine while, enough data representative of real world patient populations is lacking preventing effective clinical outcomes for all patients.