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Dermatology Research Team

Who We Are

We are part of the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (BTHFT)
The Dermatology Research Unit was established in 2009 by Professor Andrew Wright and Jenny Ott (Research Nurse). Recruitment to trials, began right from the start and to date the team have been involved in and completed numerous portfolio and commercial trials.

The team has good links with the Bradford Centre for Skin Sciences, Nottingham CTRU, Leeds CTRU, Born in Bradford (BIB) and the Bradford University Ethical Tissue Bank. We have also worked with Covance as a PIC site thus helping in the early stages in developing new medications and treatments.

Mission Statement

We are a motivated team, dedicated to the improvement of patient therapy and care within Dermatology.  We aim to support key academic research in conjunction with the Centre for Skin Sciences, BIHR and Ethical Tissue Bank at Bradford University. We endeavour, through our research to provide high quality clinical data by meeting our recruitment targets and ensuring that all documentation is accurate and reliable.

How We Promote and Implement High Quality Research

Our research facility is based at St Luke’s’ Hospital where we have a small, but well equipped dedicated room with centrifuge, black-out curtains and a -20°C freezer. We are also supported by the hospital pharmacy.

All members of the team ensure that they are compliant with The Trust mandatory training programmes as well as being GCP trained. Relevant clinical training for each trial is strictly adhered too, and additional training/education is undertaken on an individual basis according to trial/role demand.

We embrace the ethos of quality data collection and information governance processes.

Through the NIHR, the government has committed to working with the life sciences industry to deliver first class clinical research in the NHS. To achieve this, the NIHR is funded to manage a broad research infrastructure including expert individuals, research facilities and technology platforms.

In support of the life sciences industry, the NIHR provides dedicated teams through which companies have a direct route to work with the country’s leading investigators, research facilities and technology platforms.  For more information, go to the NIHR website here.

The local point of contact for the NIHR CRN Yorkshire & Humber is the Industry Manager at

Contact Us

Interested in getting involved with dermatology research?
Contact our team in the first instance:
Tel: 01274 365456
Twitter: @DermResearchBTH

The Research Team

Industry Partners

We have a range of experience of working on commercial and industrial drug trials focusing on dermatological conditions. We have also successfully facilitated CTIMP (Clinical trials for Investigative Medicinal products) for a variety of pharmaceutical companies. Our previous clients include

  • Novartis – an international company based in Switzerland- we are building a relationship with Novartis where they can use our facilities repeatedly for their studies because of our previous success.
  • LEO Pharma Founded in 1908 – is based in Denmark and manufactures and markets drugs for dermatological conditions. We have successfully undertaken to commercial trials with this company
  • L’Oreal has a unique portfolio of international brands founded by Eugène Schueller in 1909 has become the number one cosmetics group in the world.
  • Thornton and Ross is owned by Frankfurt based STADA Arzneimittel AG. Thornton & Ross has become the Centre of Excellence within the STADA group in order to promote the development of OTC and Dermatology business
  • Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit -NCTRU works in collaboration with clinicians and researchers to design and conduct high quality multi-centre randomised trials addressing important health questions- we have worked with NCTU on multiple occasions
  • Leeds Clinical Trials Unit – works in collaboration with clinicians and researchers to design and conduct high quality multi-centre randomised trials addressing important health questions- we have worked with NCTU on multiple occasions
  • Collaborational Work – we work and liaise with the Centre for Skin Sciences at the University of Bradford to facilitate high level academic research into skin disorders, particularly skin cancer and vitiligo. We are proud to support their academic research by providing tissue, blood and hair samples.
  • MeDALL – Mechanisms of the Development of ALLergy. We were also very pleased to be involved in the MEDALL study which is part of the Born in Bradford research project; this is an epidemiological study of children born in Bradford from 2007 until 2010. The information gathered for this long term study will help to find the common causes of come childhood illnesses and will explore the mental health and development over the coming years. Our role in this was to visit around 400 children where, via a questionnaire, parents had stated their child had an itchy rash.  A SCORAD assessment was done on the skin of the children and we also bolted on more dermatological questions to add to the data to enable us to have a better understanding on children in Bradford with atopic dermatitis.


Our team is proud of the increasing number of trials that we have been involved and have been successful in achieving our recruitment targets.

Success in global First patient First Visit

  • First Patient First Visit – is a major achievement for a portfolio study. We achieved this within one year of expanding our nursing team and have done this again with the ALPHA trial

Consistent High Patient Recruitment and Retention -Recruiting patient in specialist areas are a challenge and can be time consuming. There are stringent targets to be met from the NHS and we have successfully maintained these targets on a regular basis and have even over recruited to certain projects.

Spreading The Word – we regularly submit a newsletter to all the General practitioners in Bradford with a special interest in dermatology (GPSI). The newsletters give information about all the trials we are currently undertaking and how they are progressing. We regularly have meeting and our research presence is contributed so that we can optimise our recruitment targets. We have also used the hospital magazine to advertise for recruits.

Our Research 


ALPHA: severe hand eczema. This is a trial on which Dr Miriam Wittmann is the chief investigator. The trial is a comparison of two standard treatments, Alitretinoin 30mg daily and PUVA. This trial should unlock various questions to what is a very debilitating illness for patients.

APRICOT –double blind trial using Anakinra  for the treatment of pustular psoriasis

BADBIR:  Patients that start new systemic or biologic treatment for their severe psoriasis are asked to join a national register. The purpose of this register is so that a large cohort of patients can be monitored long-term on their respective biologic therapy. Data is entered on a regularly basis about various aspects of the patients well- being such as quality of life, depression and current treatment questions.

BStop:  In conjunction with other hospitals this is a psoriasis study which is a prospective cohort study to establish relevant pharmaco-genetic markers of systemic treatment outcomes. Patients donate blood samples at regular intervals for a period of over 5 years and sent to Kings College London as the co-ordinating centre. Recruitment is on-going and so far we have had over 125 patients donating blood.

Ethical Tissue collection:  In conjunction with the University of Bradford and Skin Sciences unit we are currently collecting blood and tissue from patients with illnesses such as Alopecia Areata, Vitiligo, keratoacanthomas and large skin cancers.

HILIGHT: This is a 3 arm blinded study of vitiligo treatment, where patients are randomised to use a moderate steroid and UVB light treatment with photographs and self -assessment at periods throughout the trial

PLUM – this is a study trying to find any genetic defects with patients who have pustular psoriasis and also see if this and other inflammatory disorders are caused by similar disease mechanisms

STEPin –  this is a study comparing seculinumab with narro band UVB  as a better treatment for patients with newly onset psoriasis

ECZTRA 7 – Interventional study  to investigate  if the study drug, Tralokinumab, is better than placebo or ‘dummy treatment’ at treating moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, (a type of eczema), in people who cannot be treated with cyclosporine A.

SUNRISE – A randomized, double-blind, multicenter study assessing short (16 weeks) and long-term efficacy (up to 1 year), safety, and tolerability of 2 subcutaneous secukinumab dose regimens in adult patients with moderate to severe hidradenitis suppurativa


Our main research areas include

  • Psoriasis (inc. pusutular)
  • Eczema
  • Pyoderma Gangrenosum
  • Vitiligo
  • Lichen Planus
  • Hand eczema
  • Acne rosacea
  • Registry for Biologics Treatment(BADBIR)
  • Commercial Trials for the beauty industry
  • Skin Cancers Ethical Tissue Banking
  • Melanoma Lifestyle studies
  • National and local epidemiological studies and audits

Collaborating with Bradford University studies in:

  • Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia
  • Alopecia Areata
  • Human Hair Follicle
  • Genomic & Environmental influences in Skin
  • Skin cancer


Impact of Research on Patient care:

  • Improving patient outcomes in trialling novel agents
  • Closer clinical monitoring, leading to better care
  • Free access to treatment & medication whilst on trial
  • Better informed about their skin disorders
  • Improved quality of life and socio-economic improvement

 Recent published work from our research team

  1. A randomized control trial of a 4% cutaneous emulsion of sodium chromoglycate in treatment of atopic dermatitis in children. Berth-Jones J, Pollock I, Lewis-Jones S Wright A et al. Journal of Dermatological treatment 2014 in press
  2. Sun awareness education and photo protective behaviour in immunosuppressed renal disease patients: a questionnaire to assess knowledge and practices Wright J, Wright A, Hewins P. Abstract British journal of dermatology 171 2014 supplement 1 p111
  3. Sensitivity and specificity of the empirical lymphocyte genome sensitivity (LGS) essay: implications for improving cancer diagnosis Anderson D et al FASBED journal fj 14-254748 2014
  4. Seltmann J, Roesner LM, von Hesler FW, Wittmann M, Werfel T. IL-33 impacts on the skin barrier by downregulating the expression of filaggrin. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2015; 135:1659-1661.
  5. D´Erme AM, Wilsmann-Theis D, Wagenpfeil J, Hölzel M, Ferring-Schmitt S, Sternberg S, Wittmann M, Peters B, Bosio A, Bieber T, Wenzel J. IL-36γ (IL-1F9) is a biomarker for psoriasis skin lesions. J Invest Dermatol, 2015; 135:1025-1032.
  6. Doble R, McDermott MF, Cesur O, Stonehouse NJ, Wittmann M. IL-17A RNA Aptamer: Possible Therapeutic Potential in Some Cells, More than We Bargained for in Others? J Invest Dermatol. 2014; 134:852-5.
  7. Muhr P, Zeitvogel J, Heitland I, Werfel T, Wittmann M. Expression of IL-1 family members upon stimulation with IL-17 differs in keratinocytes derived from psoriasis patients and healthy donors. Br J Dermatol. 2011; 165:189-93
  8. Renne J, Schäfer V, Werfel T, Wittmann M: IL-1 from epithelial cells fosters T-cell dependent skin inflammation. Br J Dermatol, 2010; 162:1198–1205
  9. Wang D, Drenker M, Eiz-Vesper B, Werfel T, Wittmann M: Evidence for a pathogenetic role of interleukin-18 in cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Arthritis Rheum. 2008; 58:3205-15
  10. Renne J, Werfel T, Wittmann M: High frequency of vitamin D deficiency among patients with cutaneous lupus erythematosus. Br J Dermatol. 2008; 159:485-6.
  11. Wittmann M, McGonagle D, Werfel T. Cytokines as therapeutic targets in skin inflammation. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev 2014, 25:443-51
  12. Wittmann M, Helliwell PS. Phosphodiesterase 4 inhibition in the treatment of psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2013; 3:1-15
  13. Alase A, Wittmann M. Therapeutic strategies in Allergic Contact Dermatitis. Recent Patents on Inflammation & Allergy Drug Discovery, 2012; 6(3):210-21
  14. Wittmann M, Goodfield M: Cytokines in Cutaneous Lupus Erythematosus. Expert Rev Dermatology 2011, 6:381-394