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Making cancer research more inclusive

We have been aware for some time that cancer research, from careers to clinical trials, is not as inclusive as it should be. The Black Lives Matter movement and protests against racism have emphasized that the time has come to stop talking about the lack of diversity, health inequities and structural racism in cancer research and instead work towards solutions. In that spirit, and on the basis of a virtual discussion during the American Association for Cancer Research 2020 Annual Meeting, we asked several scientists actively working to increase representation of Black American populations in cancer research how they are addressing these issues.


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Author information




John D. Carpten is an internationally recognized expert in genome science and possesses unique training in multiple disciplines, including germline genetics for disease risk and predisposition, somatic cancer genomics, health disparities research, cell biology, functional genomics and precision medicine.

Lola Fashoyin-Aje is a medical oncologist and Deputy Director of Division of Oncology 3 in the Office of Oncologic Diseases and an Associate Director in the Oncology Center of Excellence at the US Food and Drug Administration, leading scientific and policy initiatives aimed at promoting inclusive drug development.

Levi A. Garraway is Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President, Head of Global Product Development, at Roche and Genentech. In previous roles, he served as an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, an associate professor of medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and an institute member of the Broad Institute.

Robert Winn is Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center as well as a pulmonologist and physician-scientist. His research focuses on lung cancer, health disparities and community-based health care. Additionally, he has served as the principal investigator on several community-based projects, including the All of Us Research Program.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to John D. Carpten, Lola Fashoyin-Aje, Levi A. Garraway or Robert Winn.

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Competing interests

J.D.C. receives honoraria as a current member of the external advisory council for the Genentech (Roche) Advancing Inclusive Research Program, receives honoraria as a current member of the scientific advisory board for Break Through Cancer, receives honoraria as a current member of the scientific advisory council for Stand Up To Cancer, is a current member of the board of directors of the American Association of Cancer Research and is a current member of the board of directors of Tower Cancer Research Foundation. L.A.G. is an employee and shareholder of Roche and is an equity holder of Tango Therapeutics. L.F.-A. and R.W. declare no competing interests.

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Related links

American Association of Cancer Research’s (AACR’s) Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR) Council:

Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities:

Florida-California Cancer Research Education and Engagement (CaRE2):

National Institutes of Health Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST):

National Medical Fellowships:

NCI Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE):

Oncology Center of Excellence Summer Scholars Program:


Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE):

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Genomic Science and Health Equity:

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Carpten, J.D., Fashoyin-Aje, L., Garraway, L.A. et al. Making cancer research more inclusive. Nat Rev Cancer 21, 613–618 (2021).

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