New Drug In Clinical Trials for Endometriosis
Researchers from the universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Birmingham have been awarded nearly £250,000 by Wellbeing of Women and the Scottish Government to conduct Endometriosis clinical trials, this autumn, with the drug Dichloroacetate - a drug currently used for treating Cancer.
The research team, named EPIC2, will be led by Dr Lucy Whitaker Wellbeing of Women researcher and Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh.“We’re grateful to Wellbeing of Women and the Scottish Government for giving us the opportunity to progress our research” she said. “We know women with endometriosis desperately want more treatment options and better ways to manage the often-debilitating pain that it causes. Our research so far shows promising results that Dichloroacetate can make a huge difference. I hope our new trial will confirm this and give women hope that new treatments and a better quality of life are on the horizon.”
This clinical trial comes after a previous study by Edinburgh university, also funded by Wellbeing of Women. Researchers discovered that cells from the pelvic wall of women with Endometriosis produced higher amounts of lactate, which created an environment for Endometriosis to grow. When treated with Dichloroacetate, the amount of lactate returned to normal and the size of Endometriosis lesions were reduced.
“Endometriosis can be a life-changing condition for so many women”, said Professor Andrew Horne, Lead Researcher from MRC Centre for Reproductive Health at University of Edinburgh. “Now that we understand better the metabolism of the cells in women that have endometriosis, we can work to develop a non-hormonal treatment. Through a clinical trial with Dichloroacetate we should be able to see if the conditions we observed in the lab are replicated in women.”
Endometriosis is when cells, similar to the lining of the womb, start to grow in other parts of the body for example the bladder or bowels. It affects 1 in 10 women and girls, estimated to be around 176 million worldwide. This will be the first non-hormonal and non-surgical treatment for Endometriosis. It will also be the first new treatment for Endometriosis in 40 years.
The clinical trial will involve 100 women, from Edinburgh and London, who suffer from Endometriosis. Half will be given Dichloroacetate and the other half a placebo. They will be allocated at random and taken for 12 weeks. Each woman will then complete questionnaires and give blood samples over the next 2 and a half years.
“The need for more investment in research into endometriosis cannot be overstated”, said Emma Cox, CEO of Endometriosis UK. “Research is needed towards finding the cause of endometriosis, better treatments and management of the disease, and one day a cure. Without significant investment in research people with endometriosis will continue to face barriers in accessing the right support at the right time.”
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