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Isca Evidence

Isca Evidence

Isca Evidence

We are one of nine research groups in the UK commissioned by the National Institute for Health and Care Research Evidence Synthesis Programme to address knowledge gaps or to answer a specific need for health, public health and social care audiences.

The other research groups are based at:

  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Warwick
  • University of York
  • University College London (UCL)
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Sheffield

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**We are currently seeking people who would like to join the Patient, Carer and Public Advisory Group. Please e-mail Lauren from the PERSPEX team for more information**

The work

The programme of work involves appraising and synthesising research and other evidence relating to effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and patient experience across health and social care.  We work closely with policy makers to make sure that our evidence syntheses address important policy and practice needs. Our outputs may include systematic reviews, qualitative evidence syntheses, rapid reviews and evidence and gap maps depending on the policy requirement and the evidence available. Where possible, we also capitalise on our substantive work to drive methods innovation.

See our current and past products below.

The Isca Evidence team

The Isca Evidence team is led by:

A core team of reviewers:

Dedicated patient and public involvement expertise:

And an extended team of researchers who provide additional specialist expertise:

The Isca Evidence administrator is Sue Whiffin

Isca Evidence works alongside an Expert Advisory Group who provide additional methodological and strategic guidance to support the delivery of our work. The group includes individuals from health, social care and public health backgrounds and provides valuable context and background information within the fast paced and changeable policy environment.

University press release:

Current Projects

People living with overweight or obesity are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis and a number of life-limiting or life-threatening conditions. Approximately one in four adults in the UK is obese, with 67% of men and 60% of women in England living with overweight or obesity. Hospital admissions related to obesity continue to place significant demands on the NHS.  

Recent evidence has emerged about the effectiveness of a number of ‘anti-obesity’ drugs, particularly Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) such as semaglutide (aka Ozempic, Wegovy), liraglutide (Saxenda) and tirzepatide (Mounjaro). Initially emerging as treatments for type-2 diabetes mellitus, evidence for weight loss is beginning to be well-established.  

However, there is a need to clarify evidence about the effectiveness of GLP-1 RAs for weight loss, including aspects such as longer-term effectiveness, safety outcomes and how best to support delivery in the community. The Exeter Evidence Synthesis Group (Isca Evidence) is undertaking a programme of work to address these issues.  

First, we are conducting a systematic review of recent network meta-analyses of the effectiveness of GLP-1 RAs, including safety outcomes. We may update the latest analysis with new trials if appropriate. The protocol for this work is accessible via the following link:

Our second work package will focus on digital interventions to support the delivery of GLP-1 RA in the community. We will use a component network meta-analysis approach, allowing us to identify which aspects of existing digital interventions are associated with successful outcomes, and therefore might be important components of future approaches.  

After completion of these pieces of work, we will conduct a systematic review of qualitative evidence about people’s experiences of taking GLP-1 RAs.  

This work will be ongoing throughout 2023 and 2024.

Past Projects