Dermatology research

Our research

St John’s Institute at Guy’s and St Thomas’ is the UK’s largest referral centre for skin cancer, and has the best-equipped skin imaging unit in the UK. It has a world-leading reputation for patient care and research.

St John's Institute has a broad portfolio of clinical trials. Our research projects involve a wide range of different teams, including scientists from King's College London. We also have a dedicated research nurse, funded through the Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and a clinical trials team supported by Comprehensive Local Research Network (CLRN) funding.

The institute is represented on a number of national and international committees focused on consensus guidelines development for treatment, disease assessment criteria and clinical research.

In addition, St John’s Institute is one of the leading centres for research in skin disease in the UK, with among others, programmes in inflammatory dermatology, epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and skin cancer through its close collaboration with research groups at St John’s Institute of Dermatology at King’s College London.

Professor Jonathan Barker and Professor Catherine Smith lead on a programme of research in acne, eczema and psoriasis through the Skin Therapy Research Unit at King’s and Professor John McGrath heads a research group with focus on inherited skin disorders, such as EB. 

Research highlights

  • Lymphoma and melanoma databases

    We have dedicated integrated clinical and research databases for all our patients with cutaneous lymphoma or melanoma.

    These are powerful research tools and support our research tissue bank. We now have data on more than 5,000 patients with cutaneous lymphoma over 25 years and at least 1,000 patients with melanoma over 10 years.

    In cutaneous lymphoma this has directly contributed to the development of a prognostic model which will be validated prospectively in an international study.

    Our databases enable us to provide accurate data on skin cancer incidence and survival within the south east London network region.

  • Translational cancer genetics programme

    We have a laboratory technician, several BSc and MSc students, two PhD students and a lecturer (Dr Tracey Mitchell) who are contributing to a research programme to identify and analyse the prevalence and functional relevance of novel gene mutations in cutaneous lymphomas.

    The aim of this research is to develop new ways of treating cutaneous lymphoma.

    Find out more about our molecular diagnostics laboratory – skin tumour unit, which is doing this work. 

  • Translational cancer immunology

    We have two laboratory technicians, three PhD students, one post doc, one clinical lecturer, one senior research fellow (Dr Sophia Karagiannis), an honorary senior lecturer (Dr Katie Lacy) and a Professor of Dermatology (Frank Nestle – Mary Dunhill Chair) who are working on projects on melanoma.

    In particular, the laboratory is investigating the effects of antibodies, factors produced by immune cells known as B-lymphocytes, in melanoma.

This is just a small amount of the research we do in this area. If you’re a patient interested in finding out more, then speak to your consultant at your next appointment. If you are not a patient at Guy’s and St Thomas’ then speak to your own consultant in the first instance.

More information about clinical trials

More information about clinical trials

National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network

The European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer

UK Clinical Trials Gateway

Melanoma Focus