New research could mean better treatment for endometriosis

Thursday, February 06, 2014

New research may provide a fresh hope for sufferers of endometriosis.

Endometriosis, which affects an estimated 1.5 million women in the UK, can cause severe pain and infertility, but very little is known about the mechanisms behind the condition.

In 2009 biological engineer Linda Griffith launched the Center for Gynepathology Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Griffith and her team set out to study endometriosis and other similar conditions, with the goal of helping scientists design better drugs and treatment, .

Now, almost five years down the line, Griffith and her research team has taken a step closer to that goal. A recent study has helped identify cellular activity that could provide a better understanding of how the condition works.

The study, which was published in Science Translational Medicine, suggests that a faulty autoimmune response may be responsible for the condition and identifies a particular molecule that could be to blame.

This breakthrough means the team is one step closer to understanding why endometriosis happens in the first place and could help device better treatment options for sufferers. 

Griffith said, "This paper isn't to say we discovered the answer. We're trying to start a conversation with a broad translational science community about this because it is such a terrible disease. We found something really interesting, but it's only the tip of the iceberg, and if other clinicians are interesting in setting up a similar study with their patients, we're happy to talk about collaborating with them."

A full report of this study can be found in Medical Xpress.

The original study was published by Science Translational Medicine.