Grant Funds Dressler’s Study of Disparity between Participation of Blacks and Whites in PGx Research
Lynn Dressler, DrPH, has received a grant of approximately $15,000 to examine the attitudes and experiences of different ethnic groups towards the genomic-research component of cancer clinical trials.
In a previous NCI sponsored study involving more than 8,000 cancer patients, African American patients were significantly less likely to participate in the pharmacogenomic portion of a cancer clinical trial compared to Caucasians. The African American patients were already participating in the cancer clinical research trial but did not participate in the component that required blood to be contributed in order to study inherited responses to cancer treatment.
“The new funding will help us begin to understand why this disparity exists, focusing on cancer patients in North Carolina,” Dressler says. “If ethnic minorities are not involved in these studies now, future genome-directed therapy and tests will not address their specific needs.”
Dressler is the associate director for policy and ethics of the School’s Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy and an assistant professor in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy. The $14,897 grant, titled “Participation in Cancer Genomic Research: Perspectives and Experiences of Cancer Patients” comes from the UNC Odum Institute for Social Science Research, part of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The proposed study will conduct focus groups with African American cancer patients in North Carolina who are participating in NCI-sponsored clinical trials with a pharmacogenomics component.
Collaborating on the grant with Dressler are Fatimah Jackson, a professor in the UNC Departments of Anthropology and African American Studies; Paul Godley, MD, PhD, MPP, a professor in the UNC School of Medicine and director of the UNC Program on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health Outcomes; and William Carpenter, PhD, an assistant professor in the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of UNC’s Integrated Cancer Information and Surveillance System.