How the NIH is trying to get more women to participate in clinical trials
- Preclinical trials are currently more focused on men, according to the NIH.
- The NIH is allocating $10 million in additional funding for 82 projects that include women as part of the study design. The studies cover a wide range of fields.
- One of the goals of the NIH with this funding it so encourage scientists to view gender as an important factor and a key variable in clinical research.
The NIH is investing $10 million into individual research projects that will ultimately increase the body of sex-based knowledge. The studies cover everything from basic immunology, to cardiovascular physiology, neural circuitry, and behavioral health. The nature of the studies also reflects a broad range of approaches, including preclinical tissue-based or animal studies, as well as more traditional clinical trials and analysis of existing data sets.
Men and women react differently to both diseases and disease treatment, including for conditions such as substance abuse. That's why it is critical to examine the differences in the preclinical and clinical setting.
“Every part of the body is made of cells, and each of those has a sex, depending on whether the body is a man’s or a woman’s,” said Janine Austin Clayton, director of the NIH’s Office of Research on Women’s Health, in a statement announcing the initiative. “For the most part, looking for differences between males and females has been a blind spot in biomedical research, leaving gaps in our knowledge.”