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UT Health San Antonio and UTHealth Houston are looking for healthy Latinos to join their “Healthy Control Study” to help uncover new ways to treat disease.
“Controls” are healthy people who donate a biospecimen – such as blood, saliva, or tissue – that researchers can use to compare to people of a similar age and race/ethnicity who also have cancer, Alzheimer’s, or other health conditions.
A half-hour appointment with a one-time blood draw is all that’s needed for the new UT Health San Antonio and UTHealth Houston study.
“You don’t have to be sick to help advance medical research. Researchers need information from healthy people to compare with people who have a disease so they can learn more about disease and develop new treatments,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of the Salud America! program at UT Health San Antonio.
The Healthy Controls Study
Participation in the Healthy Controls Study will consist of a one-time, 30-minute visit with a blood draw at UT Health San Antonio.
Participants must be at least age 18.
Those who have these conditions may not be eligible for the study:
- Heart disease
- Cancer (other than basal/squamous cell skin cancer)
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Diabetes (Type I or II)
- Kidney disease
- Major depressive disorder
- Attempted suicide
- Currently pregnant
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
- Hepatitis B/C
- An active infection causing a fever
- Known genetic mutations
- Autoimmune diseases (beyond seasonal and food allergies)
- Vaccine within last two weeks
Blood samples will become part of the UT System Health Biobank at UTHealth Houston. A biobank is a “a library that stores and manages biosamples, also known as biospecimens, for use in research.” Learn how biospecimen donation works.
Participants may be compensated for their time.
The Importance of Diverse Biospecimens
Latinos have been historically underrepresented in clinical research. Because of this, biospecimen samples from this population are important.
The lack of Latino biomedical information can further contribute to health disparities for Latinos, such as higher risk of liver, cervical, stomach, and rare cancers than their peers.
Health information and biospecimen donations could help researchers conduct thousands of research studies that benefit Latino health.
“Latinos who donate a biospecimen are building a future with better treatments that can help their families and communities in the future,” Ramirez said.
Interested in learning more?
Check out UT Health San Antonio’s webinar on The Importance of Diverse Biospecimens and How Latinos Can Donate.
Read more about stay up to date with the ongoing webinar series collaboration of the Salud America! program at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio, and Genentech.
Latino Participation in Clinical Trials
Like biospecimen donations, clinical trials – studies with volunteers – help researchers learn how to slow, manage, and treat different diseases.
“This massive underrepresentation of Latinos in clinical trials makes it hard for researchers to develop new treatments for this group, which suffers a heavy burden of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez is creating new ways to encourage Latinos to volunteer for cancer and Alzheimer’s clinical trials, with support from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.
Looking for a clinical trial that best fits you or someone in your family?
Search open clinical trials on the Salud America! clinical trials page.