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August 10, 2006

By Gary A. Puckrein, PhD


August 10, 2006 | WASHINGTON, D.C.

Minority-Based Health-Care Organizations Endorse Landmark Clinical Trial for the Prevention of Heart Attack

A coalition of minority-based health-care organizations (including the National Medical Association [NMA], the Alliance of Minority Medical Associations, Howard University, and the National Minority Health Month Foundation [NMHMF]) today announced their support for a landmark clinical trial to be conducted in patients of combined African and European lineage who self-identify as blacks. The support of this trial is part of a larger, concerted effort to accelerate minority enrollment in clinical trials. “Progress to date in enrolling minorities in clinical trials has been relatively slow and uneven,” said NMA President Albert Morris, MD. “One of our organizational goals is to encourage greater representation of minorities in new drug clinical trials whose aim is to address major unmet medical needs in society as a whole.”

The Leukotrienes in Coronary Artery Disease (LTCAD) study is a multi center phase III clinical trial initiated by deCODE genetics to examine the safety and efficacy of DG031, a developmental compound for the prevention of heart attack. DG031 works to counteract the biological effects of gene variants that deCODE has linked to increased risk of heart attack in a range of populations. Enrollment for the trial will focus on patients with prior unstable angina or acute myocardial infarction who have the highest identifiable risk of heart attack. Recent research suggests that the risk for heart attack among individuals of combined African and European ancestry who carry a variant of the gene encoding leukotriene A4 hydrolase (LTA4H) is two-and-a-half times greater than average. “What makes this clinical trial particularly important for us is that African Americans are not the only susceptible population group to be studied globally,” said Howard University Hospital Director of Cardiology Deborah Williams, MD.

The coalition will work with deCODE to facilitate recruitment of clinical investigators and patients into the trial. “Successful recruitment of minorities in this and future clinical trials is essential to confirm that therapeutic interventions targeting the underlying biological causes of cardiovascular events may confer long-term morbidity and mortality benefits to at-risk populations,” said Randall Maxey, MD, President of the Alliance of Minority Medical Associations and former NMA President.

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About The Forum

The National Minority Quality Forum (NMQF) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan, independent research and education organization. The vision of NMQF is a health services research, delivery and financing system that provides quality and effective health services to the biodiverse American general population of the 21st century. NMQF helps assure that national and local quality improvement initiatives are informed by scientific evidence, and place a priority on the quality of care and patient outcomes in all populations.