About Us

Skin research

Research into the skin - and the effects that a range of factors can have on the skin - is an important issue for Newcastle Hospitals and our partners.

Our clinicians work with world-renowned colleagues at Newcastle University in the Institute of Cellular and Genetic Medicine, and as part of the Dermatology, Skin and Environment Research Group.


Project successes

Evidence-based treatments for atopic eczema 

The Newcastle department, led by Prof Farr, Prof Reynolds and Dr Meggitt, conducted trials of whole-body ultraviolet B phototherapy and systemic (tablet) treatment with azathioprine, for adults with atopic eczema resistant to standard topical treatments. The findings showed that both treatments were clinically effective and improved patients’ symptoms and quality of life. That evidence has underpinned changes to UK and European guidelines on disease treatment, and both UVB phototherapy and azathioprine are now in widespread use in the UK.

Skin research

Targeting skin white blood cells for melanoma therapy

Dr Haniffa is investigating the potential of targeting skin white blood cells to stimulate the immune response to kill melanoma cells. This strategy will deliver treatment directly to the skin and minimise adverse effects.

Three-dimensional mapping of skin white blood cells to improve vaccination strategies

Vaccination is routinely administered by an injection into muscle. Vaccine delivery into the skin has many advantages, including reduced amounts of vaccine needed to induce protective immune response. Dr Haniffa is exploring the feasibility of targeting specific cells in the skin to enhance vaccination strategies. The studies demonstrate unique three-dimensional organisation of white blood cells around skin blood vessels.

Novel topical therapy trial for a rare disfiguring skin tumour syndrome

Rare skin disease research can help us understand why skin tumours grow, and is the main focus of Dr Rajan’s research group. A recent success involved the discovery of a growth mechanism in a rare genetic condition that causes multiple skin tumours in families. This mechanism that gives skin tumour cells a growth advantage, can be targeted with new drugs, and may bring therapeutic benefit. Dr Rajan has recently secured funding for a translational “proof of principal” trial, to further investigate this exciting discovery.

Psoriasis Stratification to Optimise Relevant Therapy (PSORT)

A team known as Psoriasis Stratification to Optimise Relevant Therapy (PSORT) starts work in 2014 on an important research project focused on the disabling skin condition psoriasis. The project involves five key national centres with the Newcastle group being led by Prof Reynolds. The aim of the project is to create a new test to help doctors work out which treatment plan is most likely to improve psoriasis, based on a patient’s individual biological make-up. The work is based on previous studies conducted in Newcastle and other centres, including a large national registry of patients receiving systemic (tablet) and biological treatments (you can find out more at the British Association of Dermatologists Biologic Interventions Register).

 

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