With notable negative impacts in clinical research, large numbers of studies simply replicate findings that have previously been confirmed. Caroline Blaine, Klara Brunnhuber and Hans Lund, suggest that much of this waste could be averted with a more structured and careful approach to systematic reviews and propose Evidence-Based Research as a framework for achieving this.
We would argue that we need a more structured and careful approach to systematic reviews so that we can stop wasting research resources on clinical research, where the evidence already exists to reach a definitive conclusion. We have included links to six great related items.
Cumulative meta-analysis, in which studies are added in order of publication date to show the overall result as each new study contributes to the knowledge base, is a research tool that can be used to demonstrate when confirmatory studies are no longer required. These cumulative meta-analyses have over time shown the same picture of waste in many cases. For example:
- In 1992 Lau et al. published a cumulative meta-analysis showing by 1977 enough studies had been conducted to conclude that intravenous streptokinase preserves left ventricular function in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Nevertheless, from 1977 to 1988 more than 30,000 patients were involved in unnecessary placebo-controlled randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of intravenous streptokinase.