Grant awarded for medical trial statistics project

The Medical Research Council Methodology panel has awarded £250,000 to fund a 3-year project looking at estimating a treatment's effect in a medical trial with multiple hypothesis tests.

The project is entitled "Accuracy vs Precision - Developing optimal estimators for trials with multiple hypothesis tests" and is joint work between Dr Thomas Jaki of Lancaster's Medical and Pharmaceutical Statistics Research Unit and Prof. Martin Posch at the Medical University of Vienna. The funding will be used to employ a postdoctoral researcher.

Accurate estimation of a treatment's effect is vital for expressing its true worth. This is important in early phase trials as this information is routinely used to decide whether further study is warranted and to power future studies.

Additionally, health bodies require accurate estimation of the treatment effect to make informed choices about cost-effectiveness relative to alternative options as well as benefit risk assessment. In many current studies multiple hypothesis tests are conducted which has the unwanted side effect that the standard method for estimation is inaccurate.

This project aims to thoroughly evaluate the extent of bias of the standard estimator in studies in which multiple hypothesis tests are conducted. We will also investigate appropriate graphical displays to visualize treatment effects and develop novel approaches for point and interval estimation that balance accuracy and precision of the estimator. The developments will be made in close connection with clinical researchers and will be overseen by an advisory panel.

Tue 17 June 2014