Webinar: Scientific Imperative of Clinical Trial Diversity & Impact on COVID-19
Wednesday, December 09, 2020
9:30 AM - 2:00 PM
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Most of the currently available data worldwide is showing us that more men are dying of COVID-19, while more women are getting infected. Immunological differences might play a significant role in this, as well as differences in pre-existing conditions. In addition, exposure patterns, testing criteria, case definitions and access to healthcare might modify these patterns. We’ll explore:
• The role that genetic variation and gender may play in how a patient responds to a drug or medical product
• The importance of diversity in clinical trials in general and trials for COVID-19 treatments and vaccinations
• The status quo in sex and gender-sensitive research and what should be done that is practically feasible in an everyday clinical and research context
• What the pandemic is teaching us about the impact of sex, gender and ethnicity on health
Alekhya Pochiraju will explore how non-Caucasian and underserved populations must be appropriately represented in clinical trials to ensure the efficacy of treatments for all populations. Genetic variation (e.g. ancestral background) may play a key role in how a patient responds to a drug or medical products, yet clinical trials often lack diversity and minority-equity. Having minority populations represented in clinical evaluation ensures robustness and enhances predictability of how new treatments might perform on these demographics.
Professor Dr Sabine Oertelt-Prigione MD, PhD, MScPH, a physician and expert on gender and sex-sensitive research, will give a general overview of the current situation, starting from a medical standpoint and moving into the wider social consequences of this pandemic. She will highlight how the lack of attention to sex and gender can impact statistics, potential therapies and vaccines, livelihoods and the healthcare sector.
About our Speakers:
Alekhya Pochiraju is a Biomarker Operations Manager at Genentech where she provides clinical oncology biomarker operations expertise. She believes, with the future of healthcare geared towards personalized medicine, biomarkers are a critical element of cancer drug development and cancer therapeutics. Her recent talk at Girl Geek's Elevate and conference at Biomarkers & Precision Medicine USA Congress and Salesforce Women's Summit, focus on health equity disparity among minorities and people of color, specifically on the disproportionate impact COVID-19 pandemic can have. Alekhya holds an undergraduate degree from BMS College of Engineering, India in Biotechnology Engineering and a Master’s degree from Northeastern University in Biotechnology. Prior to joining Genentech, Alekhya worked in quality technology at Fluidigm and Sanofi-Genzyme.
Sabine Oertelt-Prigione MD, PhD, MScPH has been working in the field of sex and gender-sensitive research for the last 15 years. During her medical and postgraduate studies in Italy, the USA, Germany and the UK, she investigated the biological basis of sex differences in autoimmunity. She then focused on the role of sex and gender in cardiovascular diseases. Realizing that the implementation of sex and gender-sensitive medicine is a change process that affects organizations as much as researchers, she obtained training as an organizational consultant. With these tools she is now trying to understand how sex and gender-sensitive medicine can be successfully implemented. She has developed the first international database about sex and gender-specific research, is co-editor of one of the first textbooks in the discipline and has conducted the largest study in Europe on gendered harassment in academia. She is a member of the EU expert group “Gendered Innovations”, consults with national governments and funding agencies and advises start-ups that want to focus on sex and gender-sensitive topics. She is mother to a 9-year old daughter.