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Evidence from clinical trials

Cochrane is an international not-for-profit collaboration of healthcare professionals, researchers and patients committed to evidence-based medicine. They look at the results of all completed clinical trials relating to a particular treatment option and publish their findings in a way that helps clinicians and patients understand the condition and make more informed, evidence-based decisions. The process is called a “systematic review”.


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.

Clinical Trials Digital Hub

We've got everything you might want to know about clinical trials on our Clinical Trials Digital Hub, including resources, information about taking part and more!

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Meet the team

There are a number of different professionals involved in making sure clinical trials are as successful as possible.

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Taking part

Find out more about taking part in a clinical trial. We've got information on everything from trial types to eligibility and consent as well as links to loads of useful resources.

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