Two new drugs are showing promise in early testing for treating endometriosis without harming fertility. Women suffering from endometriosis often face a terrible situation- the disease makes them infertile, but treating the disease with current drugs renders them infertile.
Currently available drugs that block estrogen in the woman’s body causes the stray endometrial tissues to shrink, relieving the woman’s pain. However, estrogen is essential for conception, so these drugs also render women infertile. Blocking estrogen can also induce early menopause, along with its associated symptoms.
The only currently available treatment for women with endometriosis who want to conceive is surgery to remove as much of the stray endometrial tissue as possible. However, the tissue often grows back after surgical removal.
A team in Illinois recently discovered that the stray endometrial tissue that causes all of the problems in endometriosis has a different type of estrogen receptor than normal tissue. This observation lead the team to design two drugs that bind to only the abnormal endometrial tissue’s receptors.
Studies in mice and in laboratory models of endometriosis indicate that the two new drugs cause the abnormal endometrial tissue to stop growing and to even shrink up and break down- all without affecting any of the normal reproductive tissues. Mice treated with the two drugs were able to conceive, gestate, and give birth normally. These two drugs offer hope that women with endometriosis will soon have an effective treatment for endometriosis that also allows them to have babies.
The cause of endometriosis is currently unknown. It affects an estimated 5.5 million women in the United States. The primary symptom is severe abdominal and pelvic pain during menstruation.
The ROSE Project is currently seeking the cause of endometriosis. If a cause can be identified, perhaps cases of endometriosis can be completely prevented. The ROSE Project is funded by the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA), an organization dedicated to ending endometriosis. EFA is active in promoting awareness of endometriosis, and is also active in trying to identify a cause of and a cure for the disease.
The EFA was co-founded by Dr. Tamer Seckin. Dr. Seckin is a board-certified gynecologist based in New York City. He is an internationally renowned specialist in minimally invasive laparoscopic endometriosis surgery. He has had advanced training in deep laparoscopic excision techniques that are intended to remove all of the endometrial tissue in a single, minimally invasive procedure. Dr. Seckin is an active participant in the ROSE project.