In this MD Newsline exclusive interview with dermatologist Dr. Edidiong Kaminska, we discuss the latest research on melanoma treatment. We also discuss how to improve diversity and inclusion in dermatology clinical trials.
Is there any research that excites you or that you think is important for physicians to know related to the diagnosis and treatment of melanoma?
Dr. Edidiong Kaminska:
“There is a lot of exciting research on immunotherapies for melanoma. Now, as we know more about the genetic predisposition to melanoma, we can target therapies for that particular genetic background for melanoma. Melanoma treatments are now becoming targeted to certain genes and genetic phenotypes. And that’s very exciting because not all melanoma is created equally.
Someone might have a melanoma that responds better to certain medications than others. And so, we’re really getting down to the genetics of melanoma and finding which treatment course works best for each individual. It’s more customized care medicine rather than generic medicine, so that’s very exciting.”
How do you think we can increase the recruitment and enrollment of diverse groups in dermatology clinical trials?
Dr. Edidiong Kaminska:
“In the United States, patients with skin of color have felt trepidation and reservation when it comes to clinical trials, and that’s because of the history of medical research abuses committed against them, such as the Tuskegee experiments that happened in the 1930s – 1970s.
We can improve the recruitment and enrollment of diverse groups in dermatology clinical trials by educating more patients on clinical trials. We can also have more doctors of color explain to patients of color what clinical trials are and the expectations and guidelines for ethical medical research, such as those outlined in the Belmont Report, which was created in part as a response to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.
So, today’s clinical trials are ethical trials, as mandated nationally and internationally. And I believe having doctors of color lead these trials and explain these facts to patients with skin of color will improve the recruitment and enrollment of diverse groups in dermatology clinical trials.”
Responses have been condensed and lightly edited.