Clinical Research

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The Clinical Research Division in the Department of Dermatology conducts ongoing studies of novel therapeutic agents. Established to explore new drugs, devices and therapies, the Clinical Research Division is dedicated to pioneering innovative breakthroughs in the field of dermatology. Housed within the Department of Dermatology, the Clinical Research Division has ample office space and a fully equipped lab dedicated to tissue acquisition and analysis, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and more.

Considering a grant submission? Complete the Intent to Submit Form. This form is used to identify and allocate resources for grant development. It is the first step in planning for the production of high quality, competitive grant applications. This form is used to identify and allocate resources for grant development.

CITI Training is required for all students and residents who are involved in research studies related to human subjects in the Department of Dermatology.  The online modules are required prior to a student or resident being added to a research study since the training date must be provided to the IRB. First-time users will need to create an account. After registration, choose the biomedical research group; all modules must be completed.  Please send a copy of your completion certificate to Jane Boyer.

Current Studies

Atopic Dermatitis / Eczema

Treatment of Chronic Itch in Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Treatment of Chronic Itch in Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema)

Study Title: “Treatment of Chronic Itch in Atopic Dermatitis (Eczema) with Oral Clonidine and Oral Naltrexone”

We are recruiting patients with atopic dermatitis (eczema) to participate in a clinical trial. The purpose of this study is to assess the safety and efficacy of two medicines, clonidine and naltrexone, in the treatment of atopic dermatitis (eczema).

Study Length: The study length is up to 9 weeks and involves 7 appointments at the University of Minnesota. Subjects will be randomly chosen to receive either clonidine or naltrexone and will take the medication for a total of 6 weeks. Participation will include safety monitoring labs, EKG, surveys and non-invasive nerve testing.

Participant requirements:

  • Be 18-70 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of atopic dermatitis (eczema) 
  • Be willing to stop using anti-inflammatory or neuromodulatory medications leading up to or during the study (including topical or oral steroids, allergy and anti-itch medicines, antidepressants, pain medications, and anti-epileptics)

Compensation: Study participants will receive treatment at no charge and will be compensated for their time and effort with $30.00 per visit.

For additional information or to see if you qualify, please call the Department of Dermatology Clinical Research at 612-624-5721 or email derm@umn.edu.

Bullous Disorders

Pemphigus Vulgaris

Pemphigus Vulgaris

Please see the clinicaltrials.gov study page for information about this study.

Pediatric Epidermolysis Bullosa

Pediatric Epidermolysis Bullosa

Please visit the clinicaltrials.gov study page for information about this study.

Hair Diseases / Alopecia

Alopecia Areata Registry

Alopecia Areata Registry

Study Title: “Alopecia Areata Registry"

We are recruiting adults and children to participate in a national research registry and biobank for patients with a confirmed diagnosis of alopecia areata (an autoimmune form of hair loss).

There are two portions, or tiers, to this study:

  • Tier 1: Fill out a short, online survey. Visit the Alopecia Areata Registry Program's website (alopeciaareataregistry.org) to register and complete the first tier of the study.
  • Tier 2: Come to the University of Minnesota for an in-person appointment. This appointment consists of a long-form questionnaire, photographs, a physical exam performed by a dermatologist, a blood draw, and an optional scalp biopsy.

Study Length: One visit with no scalp biopsy, or two visits over two weeks if participant chooses to participate in the scalp biopsy portion.

Participant requirements:

  • You should have a diagnosis of any type of alopecia areata by a dermatologist. 
  • Participants of any age, gender, or ethnic background are welcome to register.
  • Only adults are considered for the scalp biopsy procedure, and they should not be using any medications to treat the alopecia for 2 months prior.

There is no compensation for participating in any part of the registry.

For additional information, please visit the study page on ClincalTrials.gov, call the Department of Dermatology Clinical Research at 612-625-9338, or email aaregmn@umn.edu.

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia Questionnaire Study

Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia Questionnaire Study

Study Title: “A Research Study to Evaluate Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia – Clinical Portion”

We are recruiting patients with frontal fibrosing alopecia to participate in a research study to learn more about the condition. The University of Minnesota is just one of several institutions in the United States participating in this study, which is led by Dr. Olsen of Duke University. The information gained from this study will be used to help find clues as to the cause of this scarring hair disease.

There are two parts to this study:

  • Part 1: An in-person appointment at the University of Minnesota Department of Dermatology. At this appointment, participants will have non-identifying photographs taken of their scalp and their scalp examined.
  • Part 2: Participants will complete a detailed online questionnaire with questions about medical history, hair care practices, and family history of hair loss.

Participant requirements:

  • You must have had a scalp biopsy that confirmed the diagnosis of lichen planopilaris/frontal fibrosing alopecia

There is no compensation for participating in this study.

For additional information, please call the Department of Dermatology Clinical Research at 612-624-5721 or email derm@umn.edu.

Topical Treatment for Skin Sensations in Scarring Alopecia

Topical Treatment for Skin Sensations in Scarring Alopecia

Study Title: “Role of Neurogenic Inflammation and Topical 6% Gabapentin Therapy in Symptomatic Scarring Alopecia”

We are recruiting adult participants for a clinical trial. This research involves a topical (applied to the skin) solution that changes how nerves respond. Scarring types of hair loss sometimes cause uncomfortable sensations such as itching, tingling, pain, burning, or tenderness. The purpose of this research is to better understand scaring alopecia, and to study if this topical solution is safe and reduces skin sensations in individuals with scaring alopecia.

Study Length: The study length is 16 weeks. Participants will apply the solution twice a day for 12 weeks to the areas of skin on their scalp that have itching, tingling, pain, burning, or tenderness. 

This study involves 6 appointments at the University of Minnesota, including monthly visits for scalp and hair examinations during the 12 weeks that participants use the solution. Scalp biopsies would occur at the first appointment and after 12 weeks of treatment. Blood draws would occur at appointments after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of treatment.

To participate you should:

  • Be 18 -75 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of scaring alopecia (including cicatritial alopecia, lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia, or central centrifugal alopecia)
  • Have at least one of the following symptoms: pain, burning, itching, tingling/crawling, stinging, or tenderness.
  • Be willing to no use treatments for your scarring alopecia for at least four weeks before you start the study

Volunteers will receive treatment at no charge and be compensated for time and effort with $25.00 per biopsy sample.

To learn more about the study and to see if you qualify, please call 612-624-5721 or email derm@umn.edu.

Cutaneous Innervation in Skin Diseases

Cutaneous Innervation in Skin Diseases

Study Title: “Cutaneous Innervation in Skin Diseases”

We are collecting small (3 or 4 mm) skin samples from the scalp so that we can learn more about nerves in the skin from people with hair loss diseases such as alopecia areata or cicatricial alopecia as compared to people without a hair or skin disease.

To participate you should:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a diagnosis of alopecia areata or cicatricial alopecia (including lichen planopilaris, frontal fibrosing alopecia, central centrifugal alopecia, or pseudopelade/Brocq)

All participants are compensated for their time and effort with $30.00 per biopsy.

To learn more about the study and to see if you qualify, please call 612-624-5721 or email derm@umn.edu.

Incyte Study for Alopecia Areata

Incyte Study for Alopecia Areata

Study Title: An Open-Label (Part A) and a Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled (Part B) Study, With an Open-Label Extension, of INCB018424 Phosphate Cream Applied Topically to Subjects With Alopecia Areata

We are conducting a research study on individuals with Alopecia Areata (AA). The purpose of this research study is to learn more about the usefulness and safety of an investigational drug called "INC018424 Phosphate Cream" in treating AA. This study will compare the investigational drug to a placebo (an inactive substance) to see how well the study drug works.

Participant requirements:
• Men and women, ages 18-70 who are in good health
• Diagnosed with alopecia areata
• Must be willing to stop using other types of medications to treat AA throughout the study
• Other requirements, which the study team will review with you

This study is being conducted by Dr. Maria Hordinsky and Dr. Ronda Farah in the University of Minnesota Department of Dermatology. For additional information, please visit the study page on ClinicalTrials.gov (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02553330 ) or contact the study coordinator at 612-301-3430 or by email at aatrial@umn.edu.

Treatment of Male Pattern Baldness

Treatment of Male Pattern Baldness

Study Title: MULTICENTER, RANDOMIZED, DOUBLE-BLIND, PLACEBO-CONTROLLED, PHASE 2A STUDY OF SETIPIPRANT TABLETS IN ANDROGENETIC ALOPECIA IN MALES WITH A COMPARATOR ARM

We are recruiting male adult participants (aged 18-41) for an investigational clinical trial for men experiencing hair loss. Participants will be in the study for approximately nine months. There will be seven visits.

To participate you should:

· Be male
· Be 18-41 years of age
· Agree to continue your general hair care products and hair care regimen throughout your time in the study.
· Be willing to have two tiny dot tattoos placed on your scalp (these dot tattoos are semi-permanent)


To learn more about this study and to see if you qualify, please call 612-301-2628 or email aaresearch@umn.edu.

Mast Cell Diseases

Photobiomodulation