What is a systematic review?
Cochrane do a comprehensive search for all reported clinical trial results relating to a particular treatment option. The results are combined, analysed and interpreted. If particular clinical trials are poorly designed (for example, if there is a risk of bias, or no control group) or if a trial is inadequately reported (for example, if there is not enough detail), they will be excluded from the evidence. The aim is to provide an independent, reliable and up-to-date view of all the evidence relating to a particular treatment option. This helps to inform and empower people living with cystic fibrosis (CF) and their friends and families, as well as healthcare professionals and researchers.
Cochrane have published over 100 systematic reviews covering a wide range of CF treatment options. These reviews are regularly updated and include a plain language summary written for a lay audience to make the information gained through clinical trials clear, easy to understand and accessible.
Read the reviews
What can I find in the reviews?
Cochrane reviews of CF clinical trials offer:
- background to the particular treatment option and its clinical context
- the date the review was undertaken
- the characteristics of relevant clinical trials
- an assessment of the quality of the evidence gathered
- key results
- and an authors' conclusion.
What treatment areas are covered?
Systematic reviews are organised according to distinct areas of treatment, including:
- Correcting the basic defect in cystic fibrosis
- Physiotherapy and exercise
- Pulmonary infection
- Anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator therapies
- Cystic fibrosis complications
- Devices for delivering drug therapy
- Oxygen and ventilatory support
- Gastrointestinal and nutritional treatments
- Newborn screening
- Mental health and cystic fibrosis
If a systematic review concludes that the evidence for a particular treatment option is unclear or ambiguous, it can help to identify the need for a new high-quality clinical trial to provide an answer. There have been several examples in CF where Cochrane systematic reviews have revealed important gaps in the evidence for common CF treatments leading to the funding and completion of high-quality clinical trials with the results publicised in a way that has changed clinical practice and made care more effective and/or safer for people living with cystic fibrosis.
Results of individual clinical trials
The European Cystic Fibrosis Society (ECFS) publishes lay summaries of important recent CF clinical trials. The aim is to provide people with CF and their parents, relatives, friends and caregivers access to all scientific work published in the Journal of Cystic Fibrosis. ECFS publish these lay summaries as “CF Research News Articles” on their website in PDF form.
You can access them here.