Children needed for clothing trial at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

12 November 2014

Children with moderate to severe eczema are needed to take part in a clinical study into the benefits of wearing silk underclothes to soothe the irritating skin condition.

Chase Farm Hospital is one of five centres in England where a University of Nottingham-led project is being conducted. Silk is said to have protective and antimicrobial properties that promote skin healing but there have been no large-scale trials to assess the effects of the fibre until now.

The trial will compare the skin of children who use the silk clothing in addition to normal eczema care, to those who use just normal eczema care alone. Children enrolled in the study will be put into one of two groups. The first group will be asked to start wearing the underclothes straight away -– either a bodysuit or vest and leggings depending on the child’s age. The children will be asked to wear the clothing underneath their normal clothes for six months. The silk clothing can also be worn as pyjamas. Children who do not receive the clothing straight away will be given it after six months. Throughout the trial all of the children will asked to continue with their usual eczema treatments, such as moisturisers and topical steroids.

The trial has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) programme. Recruitment began in April this year and about half the cohort required has been recruited from many different parts of the country. The Royal Free London is now looking for more local people to take part.

Juliet Guiness, clinical trial nurse at the Royal Free London, said: “We need to recruit another 30 children for the trial at our centre at Chase Farm Hospital and we are sure there are local children suffering from eczema who could be eligible to take part. People with eczema usually have worse symptoms as the weather changes and as there is more use of central heating in the autumn and winter months so now is a good time for us to find participants.

“Our recruits need to be between the ages of one and 15 years with moderate to severe eczema. If eligible they will be asked to wear the garments either from the start of their trial period or after six months. Families will need to complete a weekly questionnaire about the child’s condition and how often they are wearing the clothing and attend our clinic at Chase Farm Hospital on four occasions to assess the skin condition.”

Travel expenses to the clinic appointments will be reimbursed. 

The trial will continue throughout 2015 and results should be available in June 2016.  The results will include a cost-effectiveness analysis to see if the garments, if they prove to be clinically effective, represent value for money to the NHS and to families.

If you would like your child to be considered for the trial please contact the trial team on 0115 8844938 or


For further information please contact Daniel O’Brien on 020 7317 7740 or

Notes to editors

More information about the trial is available at

About the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment

The National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme funds research about the effectiveness, costs, and broader impact of health technologies for those who use, manage and provide care in the NHS. It is the largest NIHR programme and publishes the results of its research in the Health Technology Assessment journal, with over 600 issues published to date. The journal’s 2011 Impact Factor (4.255) ranked it in the top 10% of medical and health-related journals. All issues are available for download, free of charge, from the website: The HTA Programme is funded by the NIHR, with contributions from the CSO in Scotland, NISCHR in Wales, and the HSC R&D Division, Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (

This article/paper/report presents independent research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health.

About the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Free began as a pioneering organisation and continues to play a leading role in the care of patients. Our mission is to provide world class expertise and local care. In the 21st century, the Royal Free London continues to lead improvements in healthcare. 

The Royal Free London attracts patients from across the country and beyond to its specialist services in liver, kidney and bone marrow transplantation, haemophilia, renal, HIV, infectious diseases, plastic surgery, immunology, vascular surgery, cardiology, amyloidosis and scleroderma and we are a member of the academic health science partnership UCLPartners.

In July 2014 Barnet Hospital and Chase Farm Hospital became part of the Royal Free London.