By: Dr. Keith Crawford, PHEN Director of Clinical Trials and Patient Education
A session of PHEN’s 16th Annual African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit focused on perspectives from medical experts, patients and industry leaders on clinical trials.
Dr. Andrew Coop, North American Head at Pfizer, stressed the need for every pharmaceutical company, academic institution, patients, and advocacy organization to work together to close the disparity gap in clinical trials participation. “Diseases are extremely complicated and there is a need for people from diverse populations to participate in clinical trial research,” Dr. Coop said.
Dr. John Carpten, Professor and Chair of Translation Genomics at USC, provided insight into the RESPOND Study, one of the largest ever investigating the underlying factors and reasons that African American men are at a higher risk for prostate cancer. He conveyed the need to fill the gap in the literature relating to aggressive prostate cancer in African American men.
Mr. Jimmy Barnes, a retired pharmacist, is a 27-year prostate cancer survivor diagnosed in 1993 with high risk disease. When his cancer returned his, clinical trial journey began and he has participated in a number of trials. “I don’t know what I would have done without the strong word of God in my life and my belief in science,” says Mr. Barnes.
Dr. Christian Poehlein, a project lead at Merck discussed how they are addressing this problem. He started by stating that “it is absolutely critical and important that we, ‘industry and academia,’ take seriously that there exists an underlying mistrust toward clinical trials due to the past history of abuses, and there is a need to deal with this mistrust.”
Dr. Charles Ryan, Professor of Medicine at University of Minnesota provided further insight to the advantages of participating in clinical trials. He explained that the development of new therapies requires that these novel therapies be studied clinically.
Dr. Bela Denes, of AMGEN relayed that significant headway has been made with the chemotherapy and hormonal therapies. However, he explained “there is still an unmet need for metastatic prostate cancer patients.” Dr. Denes introduced the audience to some novel AMGEN immune-oncology therapies.
Mr. Euvon Jones, a 9-year prostate cancer survivor, recounted his experience with a clinical trial for PROVENGE (sipuleucel-T). His PSA was 398 when he was diagnosed and says, “I felt like a dead man walking.” He further explained that after 9 months of antihormonal treatment, his PSA started to rise and he was put on the PROVENGE Trial. He is presently cancer-free and has made significant lifestyle changes (i.e. diet, stress, exercise) and enjoys his life with his wife Janet.
The full and complete session is available here on PHENTV.com.