James Lind Alliance (JLA) Priority Setting Partnerships enable clinicians, patients and caregivers to work together to identify and prioritise the most important areas of clinical research that could be answered by well-designed studies. In June 2015, the top 10 priorities for clinical research in primary brain and spinal cord tumours were published. The topic areas are also shown in the Table (Column 1).
Shortly after the publication of the neuro-oncology JLA research priorities, a working group met at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and developed a strategy to improve the quality of clinical studies in the JLA priority areas and to improve the likelihood of National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) or other funding. This included completing Cochrane Systematic Reviews in these areas, to inform the research community on the strength of evidence on which to base research design and funding applications. It also encouraged multi-centre collaboration and having the JLA priority areas adopted as areas of prime concern by the National Clinical Research Institute (NCRI) Brain Group - the UK neuro-oncology trials research group. This group manages a comprehensive national portfolio of brain tumour clinical trials.
The Cochrane Neuro-Oncology Group planned to update existing reviews in these topic areas and prioritise new reviews where no relevant reviews existed (Table, Column 2). In collaboration with the NCRI, the Cochrane Neuro-Oncology Group applied for an NIHR Systematic Review Programme Grant for a suite of eight reviews in JLA prioritised areas (Table, Column 2, in bold) in 2017. NCRI clinicians working with professional systematic reviewers and health economic researchers produced the eight complex reviews including diagnostic test accuracy review, prognostic review and three network meta-analyses with brief economic summaries or more systematic reviews of health economic studies in these areas. While working on the systematic reviews the NCRI clinicians were able to often work on funding applications in parallel.