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In order for a new treatment or therapy to be used in medical practice, clinical trials must be run during the research and development process, often taking years to complete and costing millions of pounds. Professor Sue Todd’s research combines methodological work on novel statistical design and analysis approaches with practical research to facilitate implementation of statistical methods in the healthcare sector.


Improving efficiency 

Approximately 30,000 new clinical trials worldwide are now registered annually, with around 300,000 clinical studies registered globally since 2000. To improve efficiency of the clinical trial process, such that treatments can be identified and ruled out more quickly and cost-effectively, Sue’s research has made important statistical contributions to the field of multi-arm multi-stage adaptive designs.


The advantage of such methods is that trials can be made more efficient in terms of cost, time and benefits to patients. For example, sufficient evidence to draw valid conclusions about the efficacy (or futility) of the treatment(s) under study may become apparent as the trial proceeds, rather than when the trial concludes, and can be acted upon earlier.”


Creating an impact

Sue’s research has been implemented in clinical trials by pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca, Avexa, Novartis, as well as publicly funded trials. Her work has underpinned improvements in statistical software and has fed into the development of trial reporting and regulatory authority guidelines.


Sharing her experience

Drawing from her professional experience, Sue shares real-world examples in her lectures, discussing effective ways to communicate statistics and how to understand the value of data. Utilising her connections with statisticians in the pharmaceutical industry, she advises students about career opportunities, such as the role of a medical statistician.


“Before talking to Sue Todd I was really unsure of which industry I wanted to go into after university. After mentioning I was interested in statistics, but unsure what I wanted to do, Sue told me about a careers event specific to medical statistics. The event was amazing and helped me to decide to look for a job in the pharmaceutical industry.” 


Athena SWAN Silver Award