Alopecia UK funds invested: £25,746

When: September 2022 - July 2024

Project type: prospective, multi-centre, observational clinical registry

Project Lead:  Dr Matthew Harries 

Research Institute:  Salford Royal Hospital, University of Manchester

Condition of interest:  Alopecia Areata

Funds being used for: Research Nurse, further funding for the project comes from a British Skin Foundation grant

Aims of the project:

to determine the safety (pharmacovigilance) and effectiveness of treatments for alopecia areata (AA). GRASS-UK will join an international network of registries with harmonised datasets to generate high-quality, real-world data on existing and emerging therapies for AA.

Justification for research project:

Alopecia Areata (AA) is a common hair loss condition. The extent of hair loss may vary, ranging from patchy to widespread hair loss that may resolve, relapse, or persist indefinitely. Several medical treatments are frequently prescribed from AA; however, there is considerable uncertainty regarding what are the most effective treatment for this condition. Importantly, new treatment options for AA are emerging, with forms of immunomodulatory therapies, including Janus Kinase (JAK)-inhibitors, showing great promise in clinical trials.  

Assessing how effective and safe these new treatments are in the real-world is essential to help guide better treatment strategies for the future. The key aim of our research project is to capture, analyse and communicate these important data from our UK population, and strengthen these findings by comparing, and combining, with similar data from other international AA registries. This will be made possible through our contribution to an international research collaboration called the Global Registry of Alopecia areata disease Severity and treatment Safety (GRASS). This global network of researchers will work to collect the same important key data on patients with AA with a view to identifying treatment effectiveness and side effects in real-life populations across the world. 

Who is leading the project:

Dr Matthew Harries is a Consultant Dermatologist and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester. During specialist training he worked as a Clinical Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, and a visiting Research Fellow in Experimental Dermatology at the University of Lübeck, Germany. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Manchester in 2011. He has a special interest in hair loss disorders, leading a weekly specialist hair clinic receiving regional and national referrals. He is co-lead of the NIHR Manchester BRC inflammatory hair diseases programme, is a member of the BSF large grant awards committee and sits on the Alopecia UK charity research committee. He is currently leading the BAD alopecia areata clinical guidelines update and revising the acquired hair disorders chapter in the next Rook Textbook of Dermatology. He is also the PI on a clinical trial for a novel topical formulation for AA.   

Collaborators on the project are: Dr Nekma Meah, Consultant Dermatologist with specialist interest in hair and scalp disorders; Dr Yusur Al-Nuaimi, Consultant Dermatologist with specialist interest in hair and scalp disorders; Dr Dmitri Wall, Consultant Dermatologist and hair transplant surgeon; Mr Ian Evans, Programme manager of the British Association of Dermatologists Biologics and Immunomodulators Register (BADBIR).