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At SGS proderm, we are committed to enhancing subject panel diversity in clinical trials. We believe that diversity is crucial for improving healthcare and its importance in supporting marketing claims for products intended for different markets should not be overlooked. By conducting clinical trials with diverse subject panels, companies can ensure that their products are safe and effective for a wide range of people, including those from underrepresented populations. This can improve the chances of gaining regulatory approval for the product in different regions and can help to build trust with customers in those markets. At SGS proderm, we understand the importance of subject diversity in supporting marketing claims, and we work closely with our clients to ensure that their clinical trials are designed to meet the diverse needs of their target markets.

But what do we mean by subject panel diversity? When it comes to subject panels in clinical trials, several parameters are considered important for diversity. These include both parameters describing physical traits such as skin / hair type, gender and age. Other factors that may be considered include geographic location, and lifestyle factors. The specific parameters that are considered important for diversity may vary depending on the specific trial and the population that is being studied. But the goal in every instance is to ensure that the subject panel is representative of the population that will be affected by the condition being studied.

The Fitzpattrick skin type classification

A common question concerns how physical traits like skin type are classified. The most used classification of skin type is that developed by Thomas Fitzpatrick MD, PhD (1919-2003), who conducted signature research on skin pigmentation as well as skin reactions to sunlight. Fitzpatrick developed his famous skin photo-types in 1975 which are based on a person's skin color and responses to sun exposure in terms of burning and tanning. These classifications are now used worldwide to assess the risk of photodamage and skin cancer, as well as to guide cosmetic dermatology procedures. Here at SGS proderm, we have all skin types according to the Fitzpatrick classification represented in our subject database. Furthermore, being located in the bustling metropolis of Hamburg, SGS proderm is perfectly situated to recruit additional skin types for our studies. Both assets – database and location – are important prerequisites for a successful clinical trial. 

Subject demographics for clinical trials is not a one-size-fits-all topic. Recruiting subjects from diverse regions and backgrounds sometimes means going further afield. That's why, with our experience in coordinating multicenter studies, our team is equipped to handle the logistics of these studies, including regulatory compliance, ethics approvals, and subject recruitment, making the process seamless for our clients. 

Achieving diversity in clinical trials is not without its challenges, but we're up for the task. Contact us to explore how we can customize a subject panel for your clinical trial to ensure diversity.

Did you know?

  • ...that the skin types according to Fitzpatrick are judged not only by the pigmentation of the skin but also by the behavior of the skin after sun exposure?
  • ...that a person with a skin type VI according to Fitzpatrick can also get a sunburn?
  • ...that skin erythema on more  pigmented skin can be determined either by a highly trained eye or by instrumental measurements (e.g. blood flow)?
  • ...that some people living in the Asian region are not sufficiently represented by the skin types according to Fitzpatrick (e.g. light skin type, dark hair, burn easily)?
  • ...that different skin types can react with different sensitivity to irritants, i.e. less pigmented skin can react more sensitively to certain skin irritants?
  • ...that the higher the skin type class, the greater the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation?
  • ...that the skin type according to Fitzpatrick is often used to determine the setting of a laser when performing laser hair removal since lasers can cause burns and depigmentation in people with higher pigmentation?
  • ...that although people with higher skin pigmentation are at a much lower risk of developing photo-aging skin disease, premature aging from sunlight can affect people of all types of skin pigmentation?
  • ...that the risk of pigmentary complications (e.g. developing erythema) is minimal in Fitzpatrick skin types I-III after resurfacing procedures compared to skin types IV-VI?

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