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Advancing Research in Breast Cancer: the Vital Role of High-Quality, Racially Inclusive Data


Data is the bedrock upon which innovative treatments are conceptualized and built. It’s what informs our new approaches and guides our experts’ decisions. While our solutions are only as strong as the data that informs them, they’re also often only as inclusive and unbiased as that data. This starts with racial and ethnic inclusion and representation in clinical trials, and for common diseases such as breast cancer, every incremental improvement translates into life-saving differences for many patients. 

In breast cancer cases, as in many areas of healthcare, people of color face an unequal burden of disease: Black women, for example, are about 4% less likely than White women to get breast cancer but are over 40% more likely to die from it. The reasons for this are multifold: higher rates of metastatic diagnosis and of certain aggressive subtypes, less guideline-adherent care and access to treatment, treatment delays, and compounding social, environmental, and systemic factors. 

One targetable aspect of breast cancer outcomes is access to innovative care through participation in clinical trials. It’s estimated that only about 7% of Black breast cancer patients are enrolled in a clinical trial. A Komodo analysis found that, of thousands of providers seeing Black patients with HER2+ breast cancer, 67% did not have a history of clinical trial participation. Inclusivity, or a lack thereof, has resounding effects on outcomes among trial participants as well as on recipients of newly developed treatments. 

Beyond improving regulatory guidance and oversight, bolstering clinical trial inclusivity is not as simple as signing up more patients of color for trials. Factors that influence trial participant diversity include socioeconomic barriers to access, less diverse populations surrounding trial sites, a lack of site staff training and support, and a history of documented race-based clinical mistreatment in some communities. These factors result in a lack of trust in the medical establishment. Multipronged solutions are required for meaningful change to occur, and insights from representative real-world data are a key part of the solutions.

Voluminous patient data alone is not enough. The dynamic and complex nature of patient data can easily yield low-fidelity insights that lack accuracy and key demographic descriptors, leading to misinformed strategies and missed opportunities. Komodo’s technology solutions use novel artificial intelligence and machine learning to overcome these challenges and provide comprehensive insights, patient journey views, and predictions that are robust and timely.  

For Black breast cancer patients, fixing the longstanding issue of low inclusivity in clinical trials can’t wait: As of 2022, Black women below age 50 with breast cancer are dying at twice the rate of White women of the same age. The solutions will need to be multifaceted and complex, and deeply embedded social and systemic racism will not be solved overnight. But immediate progress is possible. 

Komodo’s data, analytics, and powerful software applications can identify key patients for inclusion, optimize clinical trial design and site selection, and spur recruitment diversity. Providing Life Sciences professionals with the most complete, up-to-date patient data that includes key race and ethnicity demographics can transform clinical trial strategies and help accelerate the demographic representation that patients of color — and their families— deserve. 

Learn more about how complete real-world patient data is transforming the landscape for clinical trials and how we identify underserved patient populations.  

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