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African Americans in Clinical Trials

A doctor smiling at her patient

Clinical trials are necessary for new medicines to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They have played a major role in advancing the treatment of multiple myeloma. Without these trials and the patients who voluntarily participated in them, we would not have the treatment options we have today.

Why does it matter who joins a clinical trial?

African Americans make up 20% of people living with multiple myeloma today. Yet, as of 2018, only 8.6% of patients in multiple myeloma clinical trials were African American. It is important that they are represented in clinical trials to better understand and address the needs of African Americans.

What should I know about joining a clinical trial?

  • There are both benefits and risks to clinical trial participation. Talk to your doctor to learn more

  • People who participate in clinical trials for a cancer drug will typically receive a current standard treatment or the new drug being studied

  • You are free to quit the trial at any time if you experience unwanted side effects, if the treatment is not working for you, or for any reason at all

  • If early results show that one group being studied is seeing a clear, significant benefit over the other group, the researchers will stop the study so that all volunteers can receive the better treatment

Having access to well-conducted clinical trials could help shrink health disparities

Many doctors think of clinical trials as another treatment option for multiple myeloma. But African Americans are less likely to have access to clinical trials and the potential benefits that come along with them, including:

  • Possibly getting an investigational treatment for an illness when no other treatment exists

  • Getting expert care for your condition

  • Having early access to new treatments

Where can I learn more about finding a clinical trial?

International Myeloma Foundation >

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society >

SparkCures >

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation >

Information about these independent organizations is provided as an additional resource for obtaining information related to multiple myeloma. It does not indicate endorsement by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company of an organization or its communications.

Your healthcare team is your best source of information.

Related information

Multiple Myeloma in African Americans

Find out what’s different about multiple myeloma in African Americans.

Getting Appropriate Treatment

Learn tips for getting the best possible care.

How Is Multiple Myeloma Treated?

Read about the different options that are available to treat multiple myeloma.


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