Scientists Find Potential Non Hormonal Treatment for Endometriosis

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Baylor College of Medicine, Bayer AG, and the University of Oxford have discovered an alternative therapeutic option for the treatment of painful endometriosis without using surgery or hormones. Following a genetic study, these scientists have found a promising new non-hormonal target they intend to further investigate. It seems this target may allow treatment to address the inflammatory and pain components of the disease.

They designed and conducted genetic analyses on humans and rhesus macaques – two species which have spontaneously developed endometriosis – and uncovered the gene NPSR1 (neuropeptide S receptor 1) associated with the disease.

The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterine wall that builds up and sheds periodically during the reproductive lifespan in women. In women suffering from endometriosis, endometrium-like tissue grows outside the uterus leading to inflammation, intense abdominal pain usually associated with menstrual periods, and infertility.

Although the molecular causes of endometriosis are not known, heritability is estimated at about 50% indicating a strong genetic component. Current treatment options are hormone therapy and surgery with a dire need for non-hormonal therapeutics.

The scientists have worked towards therapeutic efficacy by inhibiting NPSR1 in mouse models. Inhibition was achieved using the small molecular inhibitor SHA 68R, and saw a successful reduction of abnormal infiltration of the endometrial tissue outside the uterus. If corroborated in nonhuman primate and human trials, this may lead to a non hormonal drug for endometriosis.

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