Researcher looking through a microscope
Research involves a series of unfamiliar words

The medical jargon associated with cancer care can be confusing and potentially overwhelming, and with research there is a whole new variety of words to understand. To enable you to have a clearer understanding of what research looks like, please see below for some common words and phrases you may come across. 

Blind Trials: Involve participants who do not know which drug or combination, or if they are on a placebo they are receiving.

Case-Control Studies: Studies that involve the comparison of two groups of individuals to identify disparities or distinctions.

Case reports and case series: Entail comprehensive examinations of individual medical histories.

Cohort Studies: Studies that involve the continuous monitoring of a group of individuals to observe and document changes over a period. Or where a set of patients will receive a specific treatment regimen depending on the ‘cohort’ or group that they belong to in the trial. 

CTIMP: Refers to ‘Clinical Trial of Investigational Medicinal Product’, a research study involving the testing of a new drug or medicinal product in humans to assess its safety and efficacy.

Eligibility Criteria: The requirements individuals must meet to participate in a study, including both inclusion and exclusion criteria as stipulated in the study protocol.

Efficacy: The extent to which a treatment or intervention demonstrates its intended therapeutic benefits in comparison to a placebo or standard treatment.

Epidemiological Research: Research that looks at diseases. 

Experimental Research: A scientific approach that involves controlled manipulation of variables or data and the planned collection of data to understand cause-and-effect relationships.

Chief Investigator: The individual responsible for leading, designing, and reporting on the entire study on behalf of the sponsor, and this role is always held by a senior clinician and/or academic.

Double Blind Trials: Studies conducted in a way where neither the participants nor the researchers overseeing the trial know who is receiving which designated treatment administered to the participants.

Funder: A funder is the entity financing the study, which may include UK or international government agencies, charities, or industry organisations, often providing research grants for specific purposes. Some studies may have multiple funders. Sometimes the sponsor is also the funder. 

IMP: Refers to ‘Investigational Medicinal Product’ which is a pharmaceutical product or medical intervention that is being studied and tested in clinical trials to assess its safety and efficacy before it can be approved for general use by regulatory authorities.

Informed Consent: A vital process in clinical trials, ensuring participants understand the study, its risks, and their rights. It begins when someone expresses interest, involves detailed discussions, and requires signing an understandable form. Importantly, the form is not binding, and participants can withdraw at any time.

Host or research site: The organisation where the research physically takes place with responsibility for day-to-day activities. 

Open label not randomised trials: Studies where both participants and investigators know for example which drug participants will receive before the trial commences.

Participants: The people who volunteer to take part in the study. 

Placebo: An inactive substance resembling the active treatment that is used in comparison to the active treatment to evaluate its effectiveness. 

Placebo-controlled trials: Studies that involve one group receiving treatment while another group does not, with participants being unaware of which group they belong to.

Principle Investigator: The individual responsible for spearheading research efforts at each of the study's hosting sites.

Protocol: A documented research plan that forms the foundation of a clinical trial, outlining eligibility criteria, the sequence of tests, procedures, medication schedules, dosages, outcome measures, and the study's duration.

Randomised control trials: Involve allocating equal groups of individuals, randomly selected (like tossing a coin), to receive distinct treatments or no treatment at all.

Research Management and Governance Team: At The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, this team is made up of individuals who oversee the set-up of research studies at site level, individuals who oversee the sponsorship of studies where Clatterbridge is the sponsor, the governance of all Clatterbridge research, audits and quality improvement. 

Research Team: The individuals involved in the conduct of the research study.
Sponsor: A sponsor is the organisation leading the study and holding legal responsibility, which can also be a UK or international government body, charity, or industry organisation. They oversee all of the sites involved in the study. 

Study Delivery Team: The professionals running the day to day of the study. 

Translational research: The process of applying scientific discoveries from the laboratory to develop practical solutions and treatments for real-world medical or clinical problems, ultimately benefiting patients and improving healthcare. The results then feedback into the laboratory-based research, sometimes called a ‘bench to bedside’ research.