Corante

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: derekb.lowe@gmail.com Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Emolecules
ChemSpider
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
PubChem
Not Voodoo
DailyMed
Druglib
Clinicaltrials.gov

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
Kilomentor
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
ChemBark
Realizations in Biostatistics
Chemjobber
Pharmalot
ChemSpider Blog
Pharmagossip
Med-Chemist
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
SimBioSys
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Business|Bytes|Genes|Molecules
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Depth-First
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa


Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
FuturePundit
Aetiology
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Sciencebase
Pharyngula
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net


Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
GruntDoc
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine


Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem


Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Instapundit
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus


Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« How To Enhance Your Online Reputation. Sure. | Main | Addex Cuts Back: An Old Story, Told Again »

February 7, 2013

DUCTS: Down with Useless Clinical Trial acronymS

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

I'm not the first person to complain about these things, of course. Even by 2003, there were sixteen different clinical trials in the literature with the acronym HEART. It appears that the cardiovascular field picked up the acronym bug early, probably due to the size and length of their clinical programs. It also may been the first field to think up the jazzy clinical trial name first, and find something half-sensible to match it afterwards. But who can doubt that this is what goes on most of the time now? For those who still want to run the algorithm the other way, there's the Acronym Generator, which, wouldn't you know it, is run out of a cardiac hospital unit in Liverpool.

I wonder if the FDA would ever consider requiring drug companies and other research organizations to tone all this down, in the interest of sanity. If you're studying a drug called, say, kevorkirol (a generic name I invented a few years back, and hereby give freely to the scientific community), couldn't the clinical studies just be named "Kevorkirol Efficacy Trial #1", and "Kevorkirol Expanded Efficacy Trial #2" and so on? That would actually help people to keep them straight, instead of having to make a chart of bizarre trial names and their actual purpose. Anyone up for this idea?

Comments (25) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Clinical Trials | Regulatory Affairs


COMMENTS

1. Morten G on February 7, 2013 8:54 AM writes...

Kevorkirol Efficacy Trial:
KEEL (over, I suppose).

Permalink to Comment

2. Jonathan on February 7, 2013 9:05 AM writes...

NIH seems determined to try and outcompete Pharma when it comes to 'clever' acronyms for programs. If people spent half that energy actually doing real work instead, imagine what we could accomplish.

Permalink to Comment

3. rhodium on February 7, 2013 9:14 AM writes...

I wish I did natural products isolation. I know what I would name the next compound I discovered.

Permalink to Comment

4. Scientistbymistake on February 7, 2013 9:25 AM writes...

I hate cheesy acronyms, end of!

@ 3. rhodium - go on, tell us!

Permalink to Comment

5. Henning Makholm on February 7, 2013 9:40 AM writes...

@Jonathan: Come on, it's the only piece of fun people are allowed to have while grantwriting. Most of it probably doesn't happen on the clock either, but during breaks and commutes.

Permalink to Comment

6. Paul Ivsin on February 7, 2013 9:44 AM writes...

I think the term of art here is "backronym": the back-formed acronym.

Word Spy - Backronym

Permalink to Comment

7. jonathan on February 7, 2013 9:52 AM writes...

Henning - I'm talking about people at NIH, not grantees.

Permalink to Comment

8. Paul Ivsin on February 7, 2013 10:25 AM writes...

We still give names to all our trials -- we try to find something that helps clearly identify the trial to patients and investigators. A few years ago, though, we stopped trying to back-fit the long, convoluted title into it. I don't think anyone's ever noticed. Certainly no one's asked.

Permalink to Comment

9. David Formerly Known as a Chemist on February 7, 2013 10:57 AM writes...

There you go Derek, trying to stifle innovation and creativity. What a curmudgeon Did you move into management? :)

Permalink to Comment

10. Dr Jimbo on February 7, 2013 11:04 AM writes...

I got...
URINATE: stUdy to see if my dRug Is better thaN All The rEst

Permalink to Comment

11. Chemjobber on February 7, 2013 11:20 AM writes...

ONWARD: dO Not Worry About that otheR Dead patient

Permalink to Comment

12. Rock on February 7, 2013 11:30 AM writes...

@9
Yes, Derek. Way to be a job killer. Don't you know how many MBA's and marketers your idea would put out of work?

Permalink to Comment

13. Chrispy on February 7, 2013 11:34 AM writes...

PILLAR: PaId for by Layoffs in earLy reseARch

Permalink to Comment

14. anon on February 7, 2013 12:43 PM writes...

DRUID trial: Derek thRows Up hIs hanDs

Permalink to Comment

15. NJBiologist on February 7, 2013 1:04 PM writes...

Sadly, Kevorkiol is a transporter substrate; you don't achieve useful tissue levels without the transporter inhibitor, Fiegerine.

Permalink to Comment

16. CMCguy on February 7, 2013 1:52 PM writes...

Actually I think Derek and most of commentators are missing the point stated by #8PI: the Trial Name/Acronym helps "clearly identify the trial to patients and investigators" as the primary audience and unfortunately in well studied areas, like cardiac medicines, it is tough to come up with an original tag. I may incorrect on this but believe the FDA does make more complicated as rules does not allow use of names that will ID company or drug, indicate MOA or hint at "benefit" and therefore make it harder (and would immediately eliminate Kevorkirol Efficacy Trial #1) and leads to what might be "bizarre". Like many things it may appears silly and odd from the outside looking in however from insiders viewpoint is more understandable and meaningful where people involved do know how to track and translate appropriately.

Permalink to Comment

17. Da Vinci on February 7, 2013 2:40 PM writes...

In an undergrad lab rotation I actually did a bit of work on an EU project called, I kid you not, EGGPRESSURE, which is somehow the abbreviation for "High potential egg protein hydrolysates as functional ingredients for in vivo reduction of blood pressure". For those who refuse to believe (can't blame you), see http://www.ist-world.org/ProjectDetails.aspx?ProjectId=8d7e3690de9c458d979a9cfdaeb38de2

Permalink to Comment

18. bob on February 7, 2013 3:41 PM writes...

I read somewhere that trial acronyms help in patient recruitment since that can be very difficult in some cases. I believe it was said in either Her-2 or The Emperor of All Maladies (both books anyone in DD should read).

Permalink to Comment

19. DrugA on February 7, 2013 4:28 PM writes...

For you clinicAl trIaLists (FAIL)

Permalink to Comment

20. DrugA on February 7, 2013 4:28 PM writes...

For you clinicAl trIaLists (FAIL)

Permalink to Comment

21. Ghost on February 8, 2013 1:59 AM writes...

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php?f=1100

Permalink to Comment

22. Mrs. Anonymous BMS Researcher on February 8, 2013 11:31 PM writes...

Kevorkirol In Limitation of Longevity (KILL)

Permalink to Comment

23. offlabel on February 9, 2013 6:12 PM writes...

"Kevorkirol Efficacy Trial #1" Would that be KETone?

Permalink to Comment

24. Anonymous on February 11, 2013 12:52 AM writes...

Just re-read the headline for this in my reader. Was DUCTS by any chance a play on the Calvin & Hobbes "Get Rid Of Slimy GirlS" acronym?

Permalink to Comment

25. Jonadab on February 18, 2013 10:07 PM writes...

> Would that be KETone?

This.

Also, it should be pointed out that the significance of the name "kervorkeriol" would be lost on most of the people graduating from college these days. (I guess they would have been in about second grade when that story hit the news. They don't remember anything significant about the Clinton presidency either.)

Permalink to Comment

POST A COMMENT




Remember Me?



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):




RELATED ENTRIES
Gitcher SF5 Groups Right Here
Changing A Broken Science System
One and Done
The Latest Protein-Protein Compounds
Professor Fukuyama's Solvent Peaks
Novartis Gets Out of RNAi
Total Synthesis in Flow
Sweet Reason Lands On Its Face