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Illinois bill aims to remove barriers for minorities to access clinical trials


(The Center Square) – A cancer advocacy group is applauding legislation it says will remove barriers to access clinical trials for underserved communities in Illinois.

Officials at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network say clinical trials often suffer from a lack of diversity, with underrepresentation of certain demographic groups such as minorities, women and older adults.

“This is a complex issue and if we could legislate something like this away this easily, we would have done it a long time ago,” said Cancer Action Network Government Relations Director Ally Lopshire.

The measure in House Bill 5405 requires the Illinois Department of Public Health to team with other research organizations to conduct a study to determine which demographic groups are underrepresented in clinical trials in Illinois. The department would be required to report to the General Assembly on the results of the study by July 1, 2025.

Lopshire said the measure will improve diversity and reduce barriers to clinical trials, which are essential in the fight against cancer. She said one way is to provide more information about clinical trials online.

“Set up a page, like a one stop shop that specifically has resources and specifically addresses the diversity of clinical trials and how patients and people in Illinois can find out information and access those,” said Lopshire.

The legislation also requires a policy to provide information to trial participants in languages other than English in accordance with current federal requirements.

“Everyone should have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, detect, treat and survive cancer, regardless of race, ethnicity, income, gender, sexual orientation or zip code,” said Lopshire.

The measure passed the House and awaits further action in the Senate.