Burchard commentary calls for more diversity in biomedical research

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

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