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Burchard commentary calls for more diversity in biomedical research
By David Jacobson / Thu Sep 18, 2014
Authoring the lead commentary in the current special issue of Nature devoted to diversity, School faculty member Esteban Burchard, MD, MPH, asserts that the clinical and biomedical research infrastructure “needs to be retooled” to include more diverse patient populations in studies.
“Many drugs work better in white people than in those of non-European origin,” writes Burchard. “Non-European populations are harmed because they are not studied as intensely, and clues that could reveal new aspects of disease biology are missed."
Burchard’s lab leads the largest gene-environment study of asthma in minority children in the United States—a project spurred by recognition of ethnic differences in asthma occurrence, mortality, and treatment response.
“Including diverse populations in clinical and biomedical research is a must, ethically and scientifically,” he writes, noting that “fewer than 4% of genetic association studies have been conducted in non-Europeans.”
Burchard is a faculty member in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, a joint department of the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine.
Medical research: Missing patients – Diversity: A Nature and Scientific American special issue
About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.