Lack of diversity in clinical trials is leaving minority patients behind and harming the future of medicine

Despite the many biological differences between people of different sexes, races, ages and life histories, chances are that if two people walk into a doctors office with the same symptoms, they are going to get the same exact treatment. As you can imagine, a whole range of treatments – from drugs to testing – could be much more effective if they were designed to work with many different kinds of bodies, not just some abstract, generic human. We speak to three researchers who are looking at ways to make medicine more precise. It starts with simply making sure that clinical trial participants look like the actual patients a drug is meant to treat. And in the future, precision medicine could help each person get medical care that is tailored to their own biology, just like a custom shirt.

Featuring Jennifer Miller, professor of medicine at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in the US, Julia Liu, professor of medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, in the US, and Keith Yamamoto, head of Precision Medicine at the University of California San Francisco in the US. 

This episode of The Conversation Weekly was produced and written by Katie Flood. Mend Mariwany is the show's executive producer. Sound design is by Eloise Stevens, and our theme music is by Neeta Sarl.  Full credits for this episode are available here. Sign up here for a free daily newsletter from The Conversation.

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