Volunteer Information


Why donate a skin sample?

Recent advances have proved that adult cells (such as skin cells) can be manipulated to become another type of cell. One application of this new technology is the creation of cells very similar to embryo stem cells by a technique called “genetic reprogramming”.  One type of cell that can be made in this way is known as an "induced pluripotent stem cell” (iPS cell). iPS cells can divide and grow without end and can become any type of cell that may be useful for transplantation. Creation of iPS cells avoids the practical and ethical difficulties of using embryo stem cells. This means genetic reprogramming and iPS technology could play an important part in the field of “patient-specific” regenerative medicine and the modelling of diseases.
Many obstacles must be overcome before cells obtained by genetic reprogramming, such as iPS cells, can move from laboratory research to clinical therapy. One immediate obstacle is the quality of the cells used for reprogramming and the safety of the conditions they are grown in.
R biomedical aims to develop high quality cells and growth conditions for cells grown from adult skin, which can be used for “genetic reprogramming”. Specifically, we will test new ways to grow these cells in the laboratory. We aim to apply this technology to samples from patient volunteers along with tissues from healthy people.
Who can donate?
We are inviting people aged 18-75 to participate in our research. We accept applications from healthy volunteers and patients that have been referred to us by their specialist. We would also like to invite healthy family members that are related to patients.
What will happen to me if I choose to take part?
First, please complete the online questionnaire found here. This will be sent to our clinical team who will make sure you are suitable to volunteer. Next, you will be contacted by our consultant surgeon who will discuss what will happen and answer any questions you may have relating to the donation. He will send you a copy of our Patient Information Sheet to review and arrange an appointment at the Shawfair Park Hospital, (10 Easter Shawfair, Edinburgh EH22 1FE).
Here you will be able to ask any more questions before signing a form to say you understand the procedure and consent to participate in our research. Our consultant will then perform the procedure.
Andrew de Beaux
Our consultant surgeon, Mr Andrew de Beaux will administer a local anaesthetic by injection to a small area of lower torso. After sterilising the area, the same doctor will use a scalpel to remove a 5-7mm section of skin. The wound will then be closed with biodegradable stitches.
Your skin biopsy will be placed in a cell culture medium and transported to the lab where we will grow cell lines from the tissue.  Any information relating to your sample will remain anonymous, with no indication of the identity of individual involved.
Laboratory Processing of Sample
What if I change my mind?
You will be free to withdraw from the research at any time. Even after you have donated a sample.
How will you use my donation?
The sample will be transported to the R biomedical tissue research laboratory where the tissue provided will be prepared for culturing. Your biopsy will be used to grow cell cultures designed for reprogramming. These cultures can in turn be used to make new cell lines for further study by our lab staff as well as collaborators at academic institutions.
With your permission, cells derived from your sample will be stored in secure facilities run or commissioned by R biomedical. Reprogrammed cells generated from your cells may be deposited into the UK Stem Cell Bank (www.UKStemCellBank.org.uk) which will mean the cells may be used in research into regenerative medicine for many years to come.
Will you need skin samples from any of my family members?
It is unlikely that we would need to access samples from family members. However in certain circumstances it would be beneficial to the study to obtain a skin biopsy sample from unaffected relatives of our patient volunteers such as their parents or siblings. However, we will not make direct contact with them. We will therefore invite you to contact any such relative(s) AND ONLY after you have notified us that they are happy to be contacted will we make contact.
What do I need to do after the skin biopsy?
After you have donated, you will be able to access a secure web account at www.Rbiomedical.com to both check the anonymous data we have stored and to access information about the research we are carrying out.
How do I apply to volunteer?

Please complete the online questionnaire

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