Aero Data Lab is a collaboration of scientists, ethicists, and policy-makers interested in improving the quality of the clinical research enterprise. Billions of dollars, and thousands of patient lives, are spent every year on conducting clinical trials. Yet it is estimated that as much as 85% of this research is wasteful—because some trials do not complete, some never publish their data, some are addressing questions that have already been answered, and some are addressing questions of low social value.

While there are some safeguards in place to prevent wasteful research, the volume of research activity makes it increasingly difficult to track what we know, what we need to know, and what other studies are already underway. Indeed, there are not only tens of thousands of clinical trials conducted every year, there are also thousands of systematic reviews (which summarize the evidence from trials) published every year. Unfortunately, we do not yet have tools that allow experts (much less patients or laypeople) to keep on top of all this information.

Our goal is to create these tools: To build reliable, user-friendly systems that can efficiently survey the research landscape and organize the information in a useful way.


The Landing Page


The giant evidence map on our landing page plots the registered clinical trials from 10 large pharmaceutical companies (AbbVie, Bayer, Gilead, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, and Sanofi) for the past 20+ years. The trials are organized by their starting date and patient population/condition under study. Color indicates the company, shape indicates the trial’s status, and size indicates the number of patients enrolled.

This map displays 13,749 trials, which included more than 6 million patients in total. This represents an enormous social and scientific investment—likely costing several hundred billion dollars—and this is only a small piece of the total clinical research activity!

There are thousands of stories about the medical research enterprise represented in this figure, raising thousands of questions about what we’ve learned and where we ought to go next—questions that we wouldn’t even think to ask until we’ve seen the data this way.


Explore More of Our Work

Pd-1 populations; Trial-level surrogates; Arts and Health

Team and Collaborators

AERO in the Scientific Literature