Our Latest research!
Biobank at the University of Glasgow
Our Biobank at the University of Glasgow is the first Biobank in the UK set up with a focus on Alopecia.
Ms Kym Bain (PhD student, Dr Simon Milling and Dr Susan Holmes from the project say;
‘We will be using samples of blood, skin swabs, skin, and stool from volunteers with AA, AT and AU, to investigate how immune cells cause hair loss. Samples will also be sought from individuals with non-inflammatory alopecia (e.g. male and female pattern hair loss), for comparison purposes…. Samples of blood and stool collected from healthy volunteers (Glasgow University staff) under separate ethics will also be used for comparison purposes.
Initially, we aim to discover which immune cells are different in people with AA, AU, AT patients compared to the other groups. Then we will investigate how these cells alter the immune response in the blood, skin and intestine of people with these conditions. We will also look at the bacteria within the stool and skin swab samples to see how these may differ and contribute to hair loss in AA< AT, and AU. Together, these tests will allow us to find the factors of the immune system that are most important in causing alopecia areata, alopecia totalis, and alopecia universalis.
For more information about this project please read the ‘Summary of the Biobank Project’
If you would like to take part in our Biobank registry please get in contact with Nicola on 07824695610 / email for more information.
A brief summary of the clinic should you decide to take part….
You will be given information sheets and will be asked to fill in questionnaires asking you about your history with Alopecia, the treatments you have undergone and any other autoimmune illnesses that you have.
The clinic will be asking participants for four different samples which are blood, skin swab, skin biopsy and stool sample (stool samples are not taken in the clinic). It is up to the participant about how involved they wish to be with the research and what samples they wish to have done on the day.
You will have blood and swab samples taken as directed by the nurse/doctor.
The skin biopsy is carried out by the qualified nurse/doctor and will be done using a local anaesthetic to the area. A small circular 3-4mm sample is taken. The nurse/doctor will then apply pressure and a stitch will be used to close the biopsy site. A dressing is then applied which has to remain dry for 48hrs after which time it can then be removed. 7-10 days after the biopsy you will have to go to your GP surgery to have the stitch removed.
After the clinic appointment a stool sample kit will be sent to your home address for you to provide and send back to the labs.
More information about how to take part:
Collaboration with the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) in Paisley, Scotland.
Dr John Butcher is in charge of the first school-led research project in the field of nano-vibration application for the differentiation of cells (nano-kicking). Professor Fiona Henriquez is 2nd Supervisor with Dr Stuart Reid as additional supervisor. Interviews have already gone ahead and a candidate has been chosen to take part in this exciting phd project.
UWS has released this statement for the project:
‘’In the future stem cell therapies will be key for many regenerative therapies for many conditions, including those of the immune response. Herein, we propose to study the application of nanoscale mechanical stimulation protocols ‘Nanokicking’ to manipulate the differentiation of cells that have immune function, thus impacting on the resolution of different immune conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, and Alopecia in particular. In our alopecia research, not only do we want to understand the immune system’s role, but also utilise ‘nanokicking technology to enhance keratinocyte maturation.
‘Nanokicking’ has already been successful in the targeted differentiation of Mesenchymal Stems Cells (MSCs) to bone with huge potential for bone regeneration and bone disorders and we have data to suggest its role in other tissue type development.’’