Scientists have begun clinical trials to evaluate a potential new treatment for endometriosis, the first in four decades.
Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Birmingham plan to find out if dichloroacetate can help manage pain in people with the condition.
If successful, the drug could become the first non-hormonal, non-invasive treatment for endometriosis and the first new treatment in 40 years.
About 100 women with this disease will be invited to participate in the trial.
Endometriosis is defined as a painful disease that affects the female reproductive system, in which endometrial-like tissue grows elsewhere than in the endometrium, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and is a lifelong condition that can cause severe pain and discomfort.
The tissue known as endometrial lesions acts like endometrial tissue, thickening, degrading, and bleeding with each menstrual cycle, leading to inflammation, pain, and scar tissue.
New Wellbeing-funded study to begin of Women and the Scottish Government, next autumn.
Half of the women included in the study will receive dichloroacetate, a drug previously used to treat rare metabolic disorders in children, and the other half will receive a placebo.
Previous work has shown that cells in the pelvic wall of women with endometriosis produce more lactate, a chemical that the body produces to provide energy when oxygen is deficient.
This is thought to create an environment that supports the development and growth of endometriosis.
#endometriosis sufferers cheered new trial test V first potential new medicine for state in 40 years.
If successful, this could be first non-hormonal, non-surgical treatment. 1/2#Endometriosis Awareness Month#International Women’s Dayrice.twitter.com/C7lJl4O3Af
— Louise Hosey (@STVLouise) March 8, 2023
The researchers also previously found that when endometrioid cells were treated with dichloroacetate, lactate production was reduced to normal levels and the size of endometriotic lesions decreased.
🧵We are happy share important announcement on #International Women’s Day!
clinical trial #EPiC2 on potential new drug treatment for endometriosis will develop thanks to our partnership with @ScotGov.#Endometriosis Awareness Month#Women Healthhttps://t.co/rbqWQhA78q
– well-being of Women (@WellbeingofWmen) March 8, 2023
Dr Lucy Whitaker, researcher and clinical lecturer at the University of Edinburgh who led the study, said: “We know that women with endometriosis are desperate for more treatment options and better ways to manage the pain it often causes. Our research so far show promising results.” The results show that dichloroquine: “Acetate can make a huge difference. I hope our new study confirms this and gives women hope that new treatments and a better quality of life are just around the corner.”
Janet Lindsay, CEO of the Wellbeing Association, added: of Women’s Health Charity: “It is totally unacceptable that for 40 years there have been no new treatments for endometriosis. Many women and girls suffer from debilitating symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain, fatigue and even fertility issues, and current hormonal and surgical treatments are not suitable for everyone.”
She added: “Endometriosis is a massively underfunded area of women’s health and we are thrilled to be partnering with the Scottish Government to invest in medical research that could change the way millions of women are treated for this disease.”
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