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Article by Biophysics Researcher Discusses Racial and Biological Disparities in Cancer Research

Black and Hispanic cancer patients have a higher incidence of cancer mortality attributable to racial and biological disparities. A recent review article by Balaraman Kalyanaraman, PhD, chair and professor of biophysics and the Harry R. & Angeline E. Quadracci Professor in Parkinson’s Research, discusses the use of mitochondria-targeted drugs to target vulnerabilities in tumor cells and in the tumor immune microenvironment to better understand biological disparity.

This review article, titled “Exploiting the tumor immune microenvironment and immunometabolism using mitochondria-targeted drugs: Challenges and opportunities in racial disparity and cancer outcome research” and published in The FASEB Journal, posits that the development of a highly potent, less toxic, and tumor/tumor immune microenvironment-selective next generation of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation inhibitors is timely and critical in overcoming racial and ethnic disparities in cancer treatment. The article attributes a hindered understanding of the biological basis of racial disparity on poor accrual of Black and Hispanic cancer patients in clinical trials, and recommends that clinical trials should include Black and Hispanic cancer patients and combinatorial treatments (potent oxidative phosphorylation inhibitors alleviating hypoxia and radiation, immunotherapy).