Endometriosis is a debilitating condition that affects one in ten women of reproductive age, causing excessive bleeding, inflammation, and debilitating pain. The disease occurs when tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the womb and attaches to other organs in the body. The condition can significantly impact a person’s quality of life and their ability to work, study, or engage in everyday activities.
Despite the prevalence of endometriosis, effective treatment options for the condition remain limited. Hormone therapies can help slow or stop new adhesions from growing, but they cannot eliminate existing lesions and often come with unwanted side effects. Surgery to remove out-of-place tissue can also provide temporary relief, but many patients experience a recurrence of symptoms.
As a result, researchers are actively seeking new and more effective treatments for endometriosis. A recent study published in Science Translational Medicine has reported promising results for a potential new therapy that has yet to be tested in humans.
The therapy, dubbed AMY109, is a long-acting antibody that was developed by researchers at the Translational Research Division of Chugai Pharmaceutical Company in Japan. The treatment works by binding to and blocking the signaling molecule interleukin-8 (IL-8), which plays a significant role in the body’s inflammatory response.
The researchers identified a correlation between IL-8 and endometriosis after analyzing tissue samples from ten patients with the condition and four people without it. They found that IL-8 was closely correlated with the inflammation of endometriosis and disease-linked fibrotic lesions.
This discovery led the researchers to develop AMY109, which they tested in animal studies. The researchers found that monthly injections of the therapy reduced the size of endometriosis lesions and associated fibrosis in monkeys with surgically-induced endometriosis.
The study authors noted that the results were unexpected, as multiple factors could contribute to fibrosis. However, they concluded that AMY109 could represent a disease-modifying therapy for patients with endometriosis.
While human trials for the treatment are still a way off, the study’s findings are promising, and the treatment could offer a new and much-needed option for endometriosis patients. Of course more research is needed to better understand the disease and develop effective treatments for its various subtypes.
In 2021, researchers at Oxford University reported on the latest findings from their investigations into the genetics of endometriosis. They identified a gene variant that is often found in more aggressive forms of the condition, which pushes deeply into surrounding organs and tissues. This discovery could lead to better understanding of how endometriosis progresses and more effective treatments for patients.
Effective therapies for endometriosis are desperately needed for the millions of people living with the condition who find surgery only provides temporary relief. Moreover, many patients struggle to get a timely diagnosis, as their pain is frequently dismissed or normalized by healthcare professionals.