Clinical trials lead to new treatments
Clinical trials, also known as research or scientific studies, test how well new treatments or other medical procedures work. Clinical trials are on the cutting edge of innovation in medicine. Without clinical trials, groundbreaking advances in the treatment and prevention of kidney disease could never happen.
When you take part in clinical trials, you help to:
- Find new treatments and therapies for kidney disease and related conditions
- Make sure new treatments or therapies work well and are safe for everyone who needs them
Why it's vital to represent all people
Although Black and Hispanic people are more likely to have kidney failure, they are less likely than White people to take part in clinical trials. Researchers studying new treatments want to be sure they are effective for all age groups, races, ethnicities and genders.
Participants in clinical trials for kidney disease should represent all people who have kidney disease.
Clinical trials: what’s in it for me?
You may still be asking yourself why you should participate in a clinical trial. By signing up for a clinical trial, you may benefit from:
- Access to new and possibly effective treatments or medicines available only to those participating in the trial
- Low or free treatment costs
- Focused care for your health condition
- Learning more about your disease or health condition
Ready, set, take action
In spite of the challenges, when you are armed with the right tools and knowledge, you can get the health care you deserve. The American Kidney Fund provides the help and support that you need to join the fight for health equity.
Participating in clinical trials
AKF Ambassador Patrick Gee shares his experience participating in a clinical trial and why it is important for more people of color to join these kinds of research studies.
Clinical trials depend on diversity
A major part of what makes a clinical trial successful is having a large and diverse enough group of participants to collect enough data to answer the research questions. Although having people of various races and backgrounds provide more information about a new treatment, most clinical trials, including those for kidney disease, do not have enough participants who are Black and Hispanic. That means researchers may not fully understand how the new treatment impacts those populations.
By the numbers
- 3 in 10
Black people make up more than 3 in 10 people with kidney failure but only about 1 in 10 clinical trial participants.
Hispanic people are nearly 1.3 times more likely to have kidney failure compared to non-Hispanics.
- 1 in 10
But only about 1 in 10 clinical trial participants are Hispanic, while nearly 7 in 10 participants are non-Hispanic.
Educate yourself and help others do the same
You might not yet be familiar with how clinical trials work. But if you're interested in joining a trial, don't let that stop you from talking to the researcher who is in charge if you have questions or concerns. Also, spread the word about clinical trials and do as much research as possible. When you do, you are helping make Kidney Health for All a reality!
Trials are still a form of health care. You will see a doctor and may get treatment. Joining is always voluntary.
A lot has changed in how trials happen. It's a top priority to keep participants safe and to clearly communicate what will happen in the trial (informed consent).
Your doctor may not bring it up to you, but you can ask. However, keep in mind not all doctors know about all clinical trials that are happening.
The American Kidney Fund has partnered with Antidote Match to make it easier to find clinical trials on kidney disease and other related health conditions.
For example, trials may pay for your travel and other costs. Make a list of questions to ask.
You can use examples of breakthroughs like the discovery of the APOL1 gene, which can explain some of the causes of kidney disease in people of African descent.