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ConcertAI to Redesign Cancer Research to Address Racial Disparities

ConcertAI has engaged in a new initiative, “Engaging Research to Achieve Cancer Care Equality (ERACE),” to advance an understanding of, and help eliminate the unequal burden of, cancer faced by minority groups in the U.S. Central to ERACE is the creation of a population-based cancer registry based on race and ethnicity. This registry will be the most comprehensive cancer registry in the U.S. to ensure equitable outcomes, especially for Black Americans who have been impacted most by healthcare disparities. ERACE will be directed by professionals from academic, pharmaceutical, and healthcare organizations to foster new research and exchange ideas.

“Recent crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic have brought to national attention the dire consequences of persistent racial inequities,” said Warren Whyte, PhD, vice president of scientific partnerships, ConcertAI, who led the creation of ERACE. “But it’s about more than just understanding these inequities. It’s about taking meaningful action to address them. With ERACE, we have the ability to apply our breadth of resources, tools, and partnerships toward achieving cancer health equity and making a meaningful difference in the lives of all patients.”

ERACE will leverage ConcertAI’s leading real-world data products, which are the largest research-grade oncology EMR datasets in the country, to transform how we investigate and understand cancer care inequities and stimulate novel solutions aimed at addressing longstanding problems in public health.

With ERACE, ConcertAI seeks to:

  • Use its vast RWD for insights into health disparities in cancer measures across regions and population groups and use this evidence to bring about positive outcomes for patients in racial and ethnic minority groups;
  • Rethink the questions of interest such that the clinical requirements across race, class, and socioeconomic status are taken into account at parity and advanced with alacrity for maximum patient benefit;
  • Redesign clinical studies, i.e. epidemiological considerations, novel study designs like adaptive trails, cluster randomization, and more, to make rapid advancements;
  • Change how and where clinical trials are run: 
    • Identify sites where health disparities exist or where there is a lack of minority representation;
    • Fund a new set of studies and investigators to address these gaps;
    • Bring about a new model where patients most disadvantaged by existing systems and disparities can seek care with healthcare providers they trust.

Additionally, ERACE is creating an Accelerator Program to support the next generation of researchers in cancer and cancer health disparities research by providing monetary support and access to the ERACE patient registry.

The ERACE Leadership Advisory Board will oversee the direction of research to provide a real-world view into differences in patient care, characteristics, safety, comparative effectiveness, and outcomes and facilitate actionable real-world evidence to improve access to care and treatment. Research priorities will cover several areas where disparities exist, including trial enrollment, detection, treatment, cancer control, and survivorship, across a wide array of cancers that exhibit the greatest disproportionate burden among patients from underrepresented backgrounds.

“I believe that healthcare is a fundamental right and a foundation for a productive and equitable society,” said Dr. Otis Brawley, MD, Bloomberg distinguished professor of oncology and epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University, and ERACE leadership advisory board member. “Disparities exist when individuals cannot access basic sets of services, like education, healthy foods, care service at the national standard. I am pleased to partner with ConcertAI and ERACE to reframe the questions of equity and advance actionable insights that will accelerate the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer in the United States.”

“Social determinants of health are not distributed equally, which makes it critical to both understand them and their role in achieving health equity,” said Tuya Pal, MD, associate director of cancer health disparities, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. and ERACE leadership advisory board member. “It is particularly exciting to partner with ConcertAI’s ERACE initiative to bring a definitive set of data to bear to understand disparities, address inequities, and focus on what is most meaningful to realizing improvements in health outcomes. Through achieving health equity, we all win.”

“If we don’t work to ensure the diffusion of new discoveries to vulnerable communities, then we will continue to capitulate to the widening chasms that separates the haves and have nots. We can do better, we will do better,” said Christopher Lathan, MD, MS MPH, medical director, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and ERACE leadership advisory board member.

“Too often the rising tide of scientific advancement does not lift all boats equally. Breast cancer is a perfect example. Today, mortality rates among Black women are 35% higher than those among non-Hispanic White women, but 40 years ago this disparity did not exist. That’s because we lacked the current innovations for risk reduction, early detection, and targeted therapy. I’m pleased that through the ERACE initiative we will now use technology and innovation to address these disparities,” said Erica Warner, ScD, MPH, assistant professor, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and ERACE leadership advisory board member.

“Part of health disparities is a research disparity,” said Jeff Elton, PhD, chief executive officer, ConcertAI. “The level of research activity to bring insights and treatment options to all patients, races, and economic groups is simply insufficient and has been for a long time. We are proud to work with our partners and bring our organization’s data, technology, and scientists to the important work of creating new, high-trust models that improve care and outcomes for cancer patients in marginalized communities.”

To learn more about ERACE, research opportunities, and grant applications, please email us at erace@concertai.com.

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