Diversity in Trials a Necessity for Multiple Sclerosis Research

People of color who are underrepresented in multiple sclerosis clinical trials need to be engaged.

The lack of diversity in clinical trials is hurting multiple sclerosis (MS) research, and a new study from Brazil illustrates why it is essential to have every group represented in these trials.

Typically, those who volunteer for clinical trials are middle-aged white women, according to Multiple Sclerosis News Today. Engaging people of color, of both sexes, to be a part of these trials has proven to be difficult.

For the current study, since a majority of the population in Brazil consists of a mix of African and European descent, researchers chose this area because it allowed them to analyze the effects of race in MS disease progression. The results of the study suggest that black men frequently had the worst progression of MS, and how these men respond to disease-modifying therapy (DMT) can differ significantly from the response seen in black women and whites.

Overall, those of African descent were found to be an unfavorable factor for all outcomes, which further reinforced the need to take ethnicity into consideration when defining treatment, especially in mixed MS populations.

The findings indicate the importance of why populations that are underrepresented should be engaged, and the need to connect with more black women and, especially, black men; however, answers on how to accomplish this remain unclear.