The James Lind Alliance approach to priority setting for prostate cancer research: an integrative methodology based on patient and clinician participation

Lophatananon A,Tyndale-Biscoe S, Malcolm E, Rippon H,  Holmes K, Firkins L, Fenton M, Crowe S , Stewart-Brown S,  Gnanapragasam V and Muir K.

British Journal of Urology International, 2011, Vol 108, Issue 7, p 1040 – 1043

Research in many fields of medical investigation is principally researcher and
response led. The medical industry is advancing in both treatments and technologies, but the ideas and views of both patients and clinicians are often forgotten, even though these groups clearly have a shared interest in research. Patients themselves are becoming increasingly familiar with research, particularly through the internet, and with their direct experience of disease they should be an important voice when identifying research priorities.  

There are a range of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, from focus groups to cross-sectional surveys, for gathering and consolidating the views of relevant patient and clinician groups. Each of these methods has different strengths and weaknesses.

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) is an independent organization funded by the National Institute of Health Research and Medical Research Council, UK. The organization’s role is to provide a platform for an independent and integrative approach to determining both patients’ and clinicians’ views on setting the research agenda. This is known as ‘priority setting’ . The JLA has established a methodology that aims to incorporate aspects of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to the inclusive participation of a range of different parties’ views.

The purpose of this paper is to describe the methodology exemplified by a recent JLA partnership investigation into the uncertainties that surround the treatment of
prostate cancer, the major male cancer which kills over 10 000 men in the UK every

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