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Clinical Trial Expansion Supports Diversity

Originally published May 15, 2023

Last updated May 24, 2024

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A Keck Medicine of USC physician in a surgical mask points at a medical scan as another masked medical staff person looks on

USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has expanded its wide selection of cancer clinical trials to Keck Medicine of USC’s Koreatown and Newport Beach ambulatory site locations.

Clinical trials are research studies that examine new medical procedures and treatments. They give patients the opportunity to receive innovative care while also contributing to the search for new interventions and better understanding of diseases.

“You cannot deliver cutting-edge cancer care without clinical trials,” says Anthony El-Khoueiry, MD, phase I program director and associate director for clinical research at USC Norris. “They are the necessary bridge to getting new drugs approved, and they expand the options that patients have for treatment.”

The expansion is designed to address the needs of patients in Koreatown and Newport Beach.

At the Koreatown site, for example, offerings will initially place an emphasis on lung cancers and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract — with a Korean-speaking research coordinator and treatment teams on-site.

At Newport Beach, a full spectrum of cancer clinical trials will be available close to home for the diverse patient population residing across Orange County.

Why diverse participants make clinical trials more effective

These efforts continue USC Norris’ leadership in providing access to underrepresented patient populations.

According to Dr. El-Khoueiry, about 60% of patients who enroll in therapeutic clinical trials at USC Norris belong to minority and underrepresented groups.

“The results of clinical trials are more valuable and applicable if they have diverse participants,” Dr. El-Khoueiry says, “because patients may harbor certain genetic variations that affect how they process specific drugs or how their immune systems react to the cancer or the treatment.”

Clinical trial enrollees at the Koreatown and Newport Beach sites will continue to have access to the full breadth of clinical trials at USC Norris’ central location at Keck Medical Center of USC.

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Michael Juliani
Michael Juliani is a senior writer for Keck Medicine of USC.

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USC Health Magazine 2024 Issue #1

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