AAR-UK set out to establish the first alopecia biobank registry within the UK.To establish this, AAR-UKís founder Jayne Waddell organised a meeting with Professor Iain McInnes from Glasgow University with a view to finding the best way to proceed for the biobank to be viable. An AAR-UK crowd funding campaign then followed which raised the £20,000 that was required to pay for the clinic to take the samples.
Nicola McBride (AAR-UK Research Co-ordinator) worked closely with Simon Milling and Kym Bain from Glasgow University to set up the clinic for the biobank samples.Together they secured the ethical approval and created the questionnaires required for the participants to fill in at the clinic with the research nurse. They also put provisions in place to safeguard the samples as well as the patientsí identities.
The clinic is now up and running and currently runs once a week on a Monday afternoon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.Here the research nurse completes the questionnaires with participants to get a detailed history, obtains patient consent and takes the blood and tissue samples, giving the participant the home kit for stool samples to be handed back into the clinic.The samples are then stored within the biobank at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow.
The chosen samples that are initially being taken at the clinic are blood samples, skin swabs, skin biopsies and stool samples. The biobank was set up in conjunction with Glasgow University student, Kym Bainís, PhD project which looks at the pathogenesis of alopecia areata and the potential link to intestinal inflammation.This is a project that has industry funding from pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca.The project supervisors are Professor Simon Milling (from Glasgow University) and Annika Ȧstrand (from AstraZeneca).
Application for further sample types will be submitted to the ethical approval panel when future projects present so that the biobank will include a wide range of samples for future alopecia research.