On Sunday, I was delighted to receive an email from a regular Pharma Strategy Blog reader, Dr Al Lalani, a scientist who works at Regeneron.

Like many of us, Al waded through this year’s 5,000 or so abstracts for the upcoming annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago and noticed some interesting trends. He was particularly struck by the number of acronyms in use this year and put together a thoughtful and most amusing summary, which he has agreed to let me post here on PSB as today’s awesome guest post.

Clinical trial acronymania is alive and well at 2011 ASCO

Back in grad school, I recall being amused by the quirky names anointed to freshly cloned Drosophila genes like hedgehog, cactus and lava lamp. Fast-forward fifteen years and now I’m equally tickled about the curious acronyms given to late stage clinical trials.

A quick scan at this year’s ASCO abstracts and you’ll know what I mean.

There’s the MIMOSA trial and the FOxTROT, both of which deserve 10 points for ingenuity since neither study evokes images of Sunday brunch cocktails or ballroom dancing, in my opinion. Then comes the bevy of Avastin studies like AVAGAST, AVANT, AVAglio, AVAPERL, and BEVLiN.  Pure Roche branding genius.

Several gentler, feminine names including MARIANNE, EMILIA and SOFIA appear expectedly for trials in women with breast cancer.

If this is starting to sound a wee bit poetic, well you may want to consider checking out the updates from both POETIC and PROSE in this year’s Trials in Progress Session.

There are also the lofty and inspirational sounding studies like PYRAMID, TRIUMPH and RADIANT-3, or the self-assured ones such as RESILIENCE, PARAMOUNT, EXPERT-C and PREDICT.

Can’t decide on which orientation? Try either the LANDSCAPE or PANORAMA studies.

Feeling like it’s almost beach weather? How about the OCEANS, CALYPSO or TROPIC trials? The SORBET study may help to cleanse the palette after all this nonsensical acronymania.

And finally, leave it to the Spaniards to name an adjuvant lung cancer trial, SCAT.