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Shaveta Vinayak
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April 26, 2024

RADIANT: Enhancing Diversity in Cancer Clinical Trials

Dr. Shaveta Vinayak leads the RADIANT program, a new initiative aimed to increase diversity among participants of cancer clinical trials.
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The new RADIANT program, a collaboration between the ITHS and the Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment CARE Fund, seeks to increase diversity among participants of cancer clinical trials. The program is led by Dr. Shaveta Vinayak, associate professor (Hematology and Oncology).

reducing this gap

Cancer affects people of all races, ethnicities, gender, and socioeconomic status. Yet, clinical trials—the cornerstone of cancer research—often fall short in representing this diversity.

In a study looking at the demographics of participants from 27 clinical trials, only about 40 percent of the trials included any data on patient race or ethnicity. Of that 40 percent, the vast majority of participants – 94 percent – were white. Only 2.1 percent were Black, and 0.6 percent were Hispanic.

Ensuring people from diverse backgrounds join clinical trials is key to advancing health equity as participants in clinical trials should represent the patients that will use the medical products. The discrepancy between trial participants and real-world populations can lead to mistrust in a treatment’s efficacy as well as significant gaps in understanding how treatments work across different groups.

RADIANT aims to reduce this gap by implementing more inclusive research environments at community sites, where many cancer patients receive their care.

more equitable cancer research

To begin, participating clinical trial teams will attend the Addressing Implicit Bias in Health Care & Research workshop led by Integrating Special Population (ISP) partners, Dr. Rebecca O’Connor and Kelly Martin. Teams will utilize principles from the training identify and recruitment and enrollment barriers and develop plans to address them.

Trial teams will also receive input through community feedback sessions along with EDI coaching providing valuable feedback to support these trial teams in refining their approaches.

With strategies reviewed and implementation plans in place, trial teams will pilot their EDI plans in community sites to hopefully increase equity in clinical trial populations.

RADIANT was launched in 2023 with Cancer Care Northwest (CCNW) to be the first clinical trial site to pilot the program. RADIANT will continue until Fall 2025.

The RADIANT team

Leading the program is Dr. Shaveta Vinayak, a breast oncologist from University of Washington’s (UW) Cancer Vaccine Institute, with co-investigators Dr. Maggie Ramirez, Assistant Professor, from the UW School of Public Health, Dr. Rebecca O’Connor, Associate Professor, from the UW School of Nursing, Kelly Martin, EDI Consultant, from Envision | Impact, Dr. Allison Lambert, Co-Director of the Northwest Participant and Clinical Interactions Network and pulmonologist, from Providence Inland Northwest Health, and community co-investigator Rahel Schwartz, Program Executive-Health Equity, from the YMCA Greater Seattle.