Operational Strategies for Clinical Trials in Africa

Katy M. Graef, Ifeoma Okoye, Naomi O. Ohene Oti, Jennifer Dent, Folakemi T. Odedina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE In a dramatic reversal of longstanding trends, cancer now kills more Africans than malaria. Despite Africa’s growing cancer burden, individuals of African descent, notably those residing in Africa, remain drastically under-represented in cancer clinical trials. Two recent summits—the 1st All Africa Clinical Trial Summit and the Operational Strategy for Clinical Trials in Nigeria Summit—convened experts from governments, the private sector, universities, and professional societies to define the barriers to Africa’s participation in multicenter clinical studies and the strategies to eliminate those impedances. METHODS The discussions held during the two clinical trial summits were condensed into a set of 10 recommendations covering five broad categories (funding, regulation, capacity building, Africa-centric approach, and patient engagement). In this article, four programs are presented as examples of how the summits’ recommendations can be put into practice to improve Africa’s ability to attract clinical trials, in particular, cancer clinical trials. RESULTS These example programs all leveraged a multilateral, Africa-driven approach to building Africa’s clinical trial capacity, increasing visibility of Africa’s current clinical trial capabilities and priorities, improving regulatory infrastructure and enforcement on the continent, and optimizing patient and clinician engagement strategies. CONCLUSION The four programs are anticipated to catalyze the involvement of more African health care sites in cancer clinical trials, enroll a greater number of African patients with cancer in those trials, and, ultimately, reverse Africa’s growing cancer incidence and mortality rates. Each program acts as a blueprint for organizations—whether government, academic, or industry—seeking to address the summits’ recommendations and increase Africa’s contributions to and active participation in clinical research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-981
Number of pages9
JournalJCO Global Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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