An apology to fans of Gotham as this blog post isn’t about the awesome Batman having a siesta prior to launching an attack on the Joker but on the (often somewhat fudged) acronym names given to clinical trials in the pursuit of creating a captivating trial identity.

So which clinical trials were betrothed with BATMAN, SIESTA and AWESOME?

BATMAN:  Bisphosphonate and Anastrozole Trial – Bone Maintenance Algorithm AssessmeNt

SIESTA:  Snooze-Induced Excitation of Sympathetic Triggered Activity

AWESOME:  Angina With Extremely Serious Operative Mortality Evaluation

I also have to mention other enchanting clinical trial name acronyms that caught my eye:  ASTRONAUT, CABG Patch Cardioplegia Substudy, EUROSTAR, REDHOT and BLIND-DATE.

A catchy identity based on an acronym of the title of the clinical trial is memorable. The acronym can resonate with both the clinical trial participant and the trial investigator. And an unforgettable acronym doesn’t need to be as complicated as a superhero.

I asked an oncologist friend for a memorable clinical trial name and their response was: SCOPE—Study of Chemoradiotherapy in Oesophageal cancer Plus or minus Erbitux. Their reasoning being that not only is SCOPE an acronym of the trial title but it is also strongly associated with using an endoSCOPE to examine the oesophagus.

It is proving increasingly difficult to come up with unique acronym-based clinical trial names for our clients as indicated by SMART (at least 25 trials lay claim to this name), HOPE (five trials) and CURE (six trials). To get around this, some clients opt to use a name that symbolizes the tone and goal of the research as opposed to an acronym. However, The New England Journal of Medicine reported that compared with clinical trials without acronym names, acronym-named trials enrolled five times as many patients (but were not more likely to report positive results).1

Either way, naming a clinical trial, whether using an acronym or otherwise, gives the trial an unforgettable identity and provides a creative platform for communications and messaging. The identity engages clinical trial participants and investigators, optimizing the recruitment and retention of participants in clinical trials.


1Acronym-Named Randomized Trials in Medicine — The ART in Medicine Study

N Engl J Med 2006; 355:101-102, July 6, 2006



This entry was posted in clinical trials, Great Ideas, Research and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.