About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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December 13, 2012

Asking the Tough Questions: Doomsday in the Clinic

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Posted by Derek

Now, here's something useful for all of us in drug discovery and development: "The Mayan Doomsday’s effect on survival outcomes in clinical trials":

There is a great deal of speculation concerning the end of the world in December 2012, coinciding with the end of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar (the “Maya calendar”). Such an event would undoubtedly affect population survival and, thus, survival outcomes in clinical trials. Here, we discuss how the outcomes of clinical trials may be affected by the extinction of all mankind and recommend appropriate changes to their conduct. In addition, we use computer modelling to show the effect of the apocalypse on a sample clinical trial

I especially like the comparative survival curves, with and without the destruction of all life factored in. I wonder if a Bayesian trial design would be able to handle the End of Days more gracefully?

Comments (7) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Clinical Trials


1. PJ Hansen on December 13, 2012 3:34 PM writes...

Can't remember ever seeing a Kaplan-Meier plot with a positive slope. You might think that would be good.

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2. Derek Lowe on December 13, 2012 4:50 PM writes...

Not many K-M plots allow for the possibility of zombification. Got to keep up with the times.

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3. Bear on December 13, 2012 9:40 PM writes...

I really don't understand the hoopla over the Mayan Apocalypse. It's a single, isolated event with no statistical signi

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4. Teddy Z on December 14, 2012 7:15 AM writes...

brilliant. But, they ignored the potential impact (pun intended) of the asteroid...

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5. Ricky Connolly on December 16, 2012 1:21 PM writes...

The authors cited a Biomed Imaging article. I wonder if that will be counted as a 'real' citation.

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6. Anonymous on December 17, 2012 3:02 PM writes...

I think this is worth the read just for the fact it has a subsection "Stuff we found out"

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7. Xplodyncow on December 18, 2012 7:44 PM writes...

I should like to know whether the authors have any COIs to declare -- are they PIs in failing clinical trials who would benefit from world obliteration? Have they developed a doomsday survival kit and hope to profit? Are they really zombies themselves? The potential COIs alone make me question their research.

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