Be part of our Research

Volunteer Information

How do I apply to volunteer?

Please read the information below before completing the online application form. Once completed you will receive an email from the clinical team and they will provide instructions of how to proceed.

Why donate a sample to make iPS cells?

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.

Censo aims to develop high quality cells and growth conditions for cells grown from adult skin, blood and urine 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 registration form 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 or other designated member of the clinical team who will discuss what will happen and answer any questions you may have relating to the donation. They will send you a copy of our Patient Information Sheet to review and arrange an appointment at a nearby clinical facility. You will be provided with the details and travel arrangements once you apply online.

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 or a nominated qualified clinical team member will then perform the procedure or collect the sample.

If you are donating a skin sample our consultant surgeon or other qualified member of the clinical team will administer a local anaesthetic by injection to a small area of skin. 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.

If you are donating a blood sample a qualified phlebotomist will collect a small amount of blood (10-150mls) from you into a bag or tube.

If you are donating a urine sample (around 50mls) you will be given a suitable sterile vessel and asked to provide a mid-flow urine sample in a private area. You may be asked to drink water prior to providing a sample.

Your sample will be 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.

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. Any samples that have not been used will be destroyed. If samples have been used to create cell lines then these will be continued to be used.

How will you use my donation?

The sample will be transported to the Censo Biotechnologies tissue research laboratory where the tissue or samples 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.

Cells derived from your sample will be stored in secure facilities run or commissioned by Censo. Reprogrammed cells generated from your cells may be deposited into other banks such as the UK Stem Cell Bank 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 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 to both check the anonymous data we have stored and to access information about the research we are carrying out. No personally identifiable data is accessible to anyone other than you and the clinical team who took your sample.

How do I apply to volunteer?

Please complete the online registration form. Once completed you will receive an email from the clinical team and they will provide instructions of how to proceed.