Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Funding for a five-year, $3 million multi-centre collaborative study into the causes of endometriosis has been awarded by the US National Institutes of Health to Oxford Professors Krina Zondervan and Christian Becker, Directors of the Oxford Endometriosis CaRe Centre.

The symptoms of Endometriosis include painful periods, painful ovulation, pain during or after sex, abnormal bleeding, chronic pelvic pain, fatigue, and infertility, and it can also impact on general physical, mental and social well being. © Shutterstock

Endometriosis affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide during their most reproductive and productive years, causing debilitating symptoms of pelvic pain and reduced fertility.  Many of these women struggle daily with the symptoms of endometriosis.  Lack of awareness of the disease and the need for surgery to establish a diagnosis leads to an average diagnostic delay of up to seven years. Treatments are limited to hormonal treatments with many side-effects and complex surgical removal of disease which often needs to be repeated.

The project aims to find epigenetic changes in endometrial tissues related to endometriosis, to better understand the disease development and potential causes. The funded work builds on Oxford's long track record of understanding the genetic and environmental origins of endometriosis with the aim of finding new drug targets as well as non-invasive biomarkers for the disease.

Professor Becker said: "Endometriosis can be devastating for the women who suffer from it and their families. This is why it is so important that research like this is funded to help find the cause, develop novel treatments as well as look at prevention of the disease."

Professor Zondervan commented: "We are delighted to receive this NIH funding, supporting a multi-centre collaboration with UCSF and Harvard University in the USA, and the Universities of Queensland and Melbourne in Australia. The study will shed light on how the genetics underlying the disease we have identified so far, together with non-genetic factors, impacts on tissues in women with endometriosis.  This information can then be used to identify new drug targets or methods of diagnosing disease."

The work will utilise for the first time standardised detailed data and sample collection tools for endometriosis developed by the WERF Endometriosis Phenome and Biobanking Harmonisation Project (EPHect), a global initiative led by Professors Becker and Zondervan in Oxford and Professor Stacey Missmer at Harvard involving more than 30 academic and industry partners. 

More information is available from the World Endometriosis Foundation.

 

 

Similar stories

Women's Health Strategy for England Launched

The government has published the first ever Women's Health Strategy for England to tackle the gender health gap. Menopause, Endometriosis, Contraception and Fertility treatment are highlighted as some of the top issues women have asked for action on. The Nuffield Department of Women's & Reproductive Health welcome and fully support this bold and exciting strategy to help improve the health of millions of women in England.

Prof Christian Becker wins Clinical Science Award at ESHRE 2022

Congratulations to Professor Christian Becker who was presented with a Clinical Science Award for best oral presentation at the ESHRE 38th Annual Meeting in Milan, Italy this week.

PhD Student of the Year 2022 Winner!

The winners of the Postgrad Awards 2022 have been announced and we are delighted to share that our DPhil student Josephine Agyeman-Duah has won PhD Student of the Year. The award recognises the individual PhD student who has become an excellent and inquisitive researcher, who is an integral part of their research group, someone who encourages and supports more junior members of the team, and works alongside the research community more widely.

Josephine Agyeman-Duah wins at the Oxford Student Union Awards 2022

Huge congratulations to Josephine Agyeman-Duah, DPhil student in the Kennedy group who won a Race Equality award at the Oxford Student Union Awards 2022.

Oxford's largest ever study into Varicose veins shows need for surgery is linked to genetics

Varicose veins are a very common manifestation of chronic venous disease, affecting over 30% of the population in Western countries. In America, chronic venous disease affects over 11 million men and 22 million women aged 40–80 years old. Left untreated it can escalate to multiple health complications including leg ulcers and ultimately amputations. A new international study by Oxford researchers published on 2nd June 2022 in Nature Communications establishes for the first time, a critical genetic risk score to predict the likelihood of patients suffering with Varicose veins to require surgery, as well as pointing the way towards potential new therapies.

New Associate Professor Titles

We're celebrating two new Associate Professors in our department!