Cochrane Group sets up new skin disease initiative


The Cochrane Skin Group, which is part of the Cochrane Collaborative, has launched an initiative to improve research and clinical trials for products designed to treat skin disease.

The newly formed Core Outcomes Set Initiative (CSG-COUSIN) run by the Skin Group, will seek to standardise the use of measurable outcomes in skin disease research.

The problem to date of researchers using different outcome measures within their research has for many years impeded the ability of others to conduct meta-analyses and compare the results of multiple trials for the purposes of validation or endorsement. Traditionally, researchers have used their own defined outcome measures or combined those used in several other studies to prove the efficacy of a particular intervention.

In atopic dermatitis for example, there are over 20 named scales and even more unnamed scales, yet it is rare for the same scale to be used in more than a few studies in the same way, making it virtually impossible to combine the studies in the form of a meta-analysis. In other fields of medicine, stakeholders have got together to agree on which aspects of the disease (called domains) are important (like quality of life) and which are the best instruments to measure them. When put together, these are called core outcome sets.

Dermatology has lagged behind in this regard for some time. It is therefore the aim of the CSG-COUSIN to standardise the use of relevant outcome measures and improve future research in dermatology.

More information can be found here.