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Alopecia UK Research Update

21st December 2016

This year, Alopecia UK was delighted to be involved in the application process for the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network (UKDCTN).  After completion of the Hair Loss Priority Setting Partnership last year, funded by Alopecia UK, the UKDCTN were keen to keep momentum going and help stimulate and support more research into hair loss by putting out a themed call for research applications for hair and nail conditions (with one bid being granted up to £10,000).  Applications for this grant were for small scale studies, such as pilot studies or feasibility work, which could lead on to much bigger clinical trials.  Only one application would be selected.
As well as supporting the advertisement of the UKDCTNís themed call for research, Alopecia UK attended the final meeting where the shortlisted applications were presented.  The winner was selected by the UKDCTN steering group.  It was insightful for Alopecia UK to be involved in the process and see how much work goes in to reviewing the applications and selecting a winner. 
It was really tough for the steering group to choose a final winner as the shortlisted applications were so strong. The UKDCTN only had funding for one application but emphasised how strong all four of the final shortlisted applications were.  Being the first time there has been a call for research applications specifically in to hair loss, Alopecia UK decided to fund two more of the applications (with a combined research cost of £15,000). It seemed such a shame to let all the work that had gone into both the submission and review of these applications to go to waste.  It is Alopecia UKís hope that by supporting these small research studies, it could potentially lead to much bigger clinical trials further down the line. Piggy-backing off the UKDCTNís first themed research call for Hair and Nail conditions seemed like a good way for Alopecia UK to start getting directly involved in funding research, something the charity now feels itís in a financial position to do.
We are delighted to be in this position. Everyone who has got involved with Alopecia UK over the past few years has really helped with the development of the charity. Our annual income has increased from £20,000 to over £100,000.  Well done to everyone who has ever fundraised and donated to Alopecia UK! You really have made a big difference and we hope that you will all continue to invest in our future. We are still a small charity but our larger income allows us to do so much more and in particular increase what weíre able to do around our aim of research.  
Our funding into research is small scale in the greater scheme of things but itís a start and we feel a very positive one. We hope it reflects how much the charity has grown in recent years (and continues to grow), having previously only been in a position to support research by finding participants for research studies rather than directly funding studies.
Thanks to the UKDCTN, being a part of the whole funding process has also shown us a way forward with starting to fund future research.  Realising that we could do a lot with smaller funding pots, throughout the year we have been chatting with researchers at various meetings and conferences we have attended, asking them what would be helpful and how can Alopecia UK get involved in helping to stimulate more research in to alopecia.  This shaped a funding idea which Jen presented at the British Hair and Nails Societyís (BHNS) annual meeting in November. Jen was invited to attend after chatting with some BHNS members at the British Association of Dermatologistsí annual meeting.  The BHNS meeting brought together many researchers currently working on hair projects in the UK.  After presenting the charityís idea, Jen gathered further feedback which will be very useful in further shaping the funding idea which we are looking to roll out in 2017, making an annual funding pot available for research. 

Further details about both the research studies from the recent UKDCTN call that Alopecia UK will be funding and the idea for annual investment into research will be released in this space!

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Alopecia UK is a registered charity number 1111304 and Scottish registered charity SCO44702
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