Meta-analysis is a statistical technique for combining the findings of trials addressing a similar question. PHRU’s focus is on meta-analysis of large datasets of anonymised data on individual patients from randomized trials, allowing detailed information to be obtained on the benefits and hazards of drugs.
Within PHRU, Professor Richard Gray and Dr Christina Davies coordinate the Early Breast Cancer Trialists' Collaborative Group (EBCTCG), which has helped to determine the effects of treatments for breast cancer and to improve the care of patients with this disease.
In vascular disease, Professor Colin Baigent coordinates the work of the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaboration, the Antithrombotic Trialists’ (ATT) Collaboration, and the Stroke Thrombolysis Trialists’ (STT) Collaboration, all of which have helped to determine the balance of beneficial and harmful effects of drugs used for the treatment of prevention of conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.
PHRU also conducts meta-analyses of observational studies, and established the Prospective Studies Collaboration collaborative meta-analysis of data on over one million individuals in prospective studies. This large study has previously examined the relevance of blood cholesterol and blood pressure to particular causes of death, and is now assessing the importance of adiposity and diabetes mellitus.