Introducing Dr Peter Wilson

My name is Dr Peter Wilson and I am a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Liverpool. I have been working on various AKU projects now for nearly 10 years, from the development of an in vitro model of AKU, to gene replacement therapy. One aspect of my job requires me to collect the surgical samples from patients with AKU, (a role which I took over from Dr Adam Taylor).

The samples are used to further our understanding of the disease process, and ultimately, to try and find a mechanism for the reversal of pigment deposition. This process usually begins with patients expressing a desire to Lesley Harrison (Patient Support Manager) that they would not mind the excess tissue from their impending surgery to be used in our research. Lesley then contacts me, so that I can obtain patient written consent, which is a requirement under the Human Tissues Act 2004, as failure to do so could land me in very hot water!

I then liaise with the surgeon to make sure that they and the hospital are OK with me turning up on their doorstep on the day of the operation.


Once I have been given approval by all parties, I will jump in my car early in the morning with some of my equipment for tissue storage in tow, to the hospital where the procedure is taking place. Between Adam and me, we have travelled the length and breadth of the country!

On our arrival back to the labs in Liverpool, we process the tissue for the various experiments that we have planned. This has lead directly to the publication of scientific papers, including:

  • “Ultrastructural examination of tissue in a patient with alkaptonuric arthropathy reveals a distinct pattern of binding of ochronotic pigment”
  • “The role of calcified cartilage and subchondral bone in the initiation and progression of ochronotic arthropathy in alkaptonuria”
  • “On fragmenting, densely mineralised acellular protrusions into articular cartilage and their possible role in osteoarthritis”

So, now hopefully you can see how valuable every AKU patients donated tissue is for our research, for which we are very grateful. I hope not to see you soon, at least not in hospital.

Take care and best wishes, Peter.



Welcome To DevelopAKUre

DevelopAKUre is a series of major international clinical trials, run by a consortium of 12 European partners. It aims to study a potential new drug, called nitisinone, and assess its potential effectiveness in treating the rare disease, alkaptonuria (AKU).

DevelopAKUre is co-funded by a grant from the European Commission. This website is run by a UK patient group, the AKU Society. Learn more about AKU on the AKU Society's What is AKU page.


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