Why preclinical research models must reflect diverse populations

17

IN a new report, researchers cite a dire need to increase diversity in preclinical research using human cell lines (HCL). Currently, some 95% of commonly used cell lines come from people of European descent.

The authors explain that African Americans and other groups are under-represented in preclinical research and are often discriminated against by the medical system.

To fix this systemic problem, the authors write that researchers must regain the trust of previously marginalized populations to encourage people of more diverse genetic backgrounds to contribute to the development of more diverse cell lines.

Researchers must also consciously prioritize factors such as sex and genetic ancestry representation over ease of accessibility or the cost of a cell line.

The Black Lives Matter movement has encouraged some researchers in the biomedical community to focus on the under-representation of Black adults and other groups in medical study populations.

This is a significant problem, given that people of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds experience some conditions differently or at different rates.

For example, African American men are 2.5 times more likely to die Trusted Source from prostate cancer than white American men.

However, 97% Trusted Source of the human prostate cell lines made by major medical research supplies are of white European origin.

These compounding factors, such as someone’s ethnicity, race, sex, or ancestral genetic origin, are widely excluded from most preclinical and clinical res

earch.

This means that researchers are often developing treatments that may not work for all groups of people.

This situation underserves large groups of people and leads to a significant waste of time, money, and resources.

It can also increase the risk that some people may be harmed by taking medications that have not received sufficient testing in their specific population. Health inequities affect all of us differently.

Visit our dedicated hub for an in-depth look at social disparities in health and what we can do to correct them.

Cell lines are grown from a single cell taken from living tissue. Scientists grow them outside of the body in a laboratory under controlled conditions and produce a population of cells with the same genetic make-up that can grow over a long period.