Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER)
Comparative effectiveness research (CER) is a direct comparison of existing options available for treating a particular medical condition. It may compare similar treatments, such as competing drugs, or it may analyze very different interventions, such as surgery and drug therapy. It may also compare the effectiveness of how and when health care is delivered, such as different intervals of follow-up, or schedules of dosing. CER can use a range of research tools and methods, including systematic review of existing studies and evidence, modeling to simulate effects of interventions on different populations, or head-to-head clinical trials comparing one treatment to another.
There are many different types of research studies, some conducted in laboratories, and some in hospitals or clinics. Some studies are observational, while others are "experimental" and involve evaluating interventions. Each has a different design and methods, and each has its strengths and limitations. The type of research question being asked will help determine the best type of research study to conduct.
The descriptions below provide a basic overview of the different types of research studies that are used to collect evidence about breast cancer and its treatment.
Laboratory studies can be done using cells from animals or humans, or animal models. Research involving a controlled environment, such as cell cultures in a test tube or in a petri dish, are called in vitro studies. Studies done on living organisms are called in vivo studies.
Laboratory studies can also be referred to as