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Endometriosis CaRe Oxford is a nationally and internationally acclaimed centre of expertise in clinical care and research into endometriosis, and is part of the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health (WRH) of the University of Oxford. Our research studies all focus around improving our understanding of endometriosis, working towards a non-surgical method of diagnosis (‘biomarker’) and identifying new, better treatments.

Lab research

Research Studies

Our research in the Oxford Endometriosis CaRe Centre seeks to identify what causes endometriosis to help improve our understanding of its different forms and to help inform novel drug and non-invasive biomarker discovery programmes.

The EndoCaRe Centre is a leading member of a global initiative to research and develop standardised deep phenotyping tools and sample collection protocols. The World Endometriosis Research Foundation (WERF) Endometriosis Phenome and Biobanking Harmonisation Project (EPHect) is a landmark collaboration amongst 29 academic institutions in 19 countries and three medical/diagnostic companies aimed at creating global consensus and standardised data collection instruments and sample collection protocols in endometriosis research.

In the Endometriosis CaRe centre we are using WERF EPHect-compliant data and samples from women attending our Centre to explore what biological pathways implicated genetic variants 'signpost', and how findings can aid discovery of novel treatment targets and biomarkers.

WERF EPHect

FENOX

Aim – To identify the underlying mechanisms of endometriosis and uterine fibroids and their associated symptoms to improve the outcome of affected women.

In the FENOX (Fibroids and Endometriosis in Oxford) study, we aim to improve our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of endometriosis and uterine fibroids and their associated symptoms by means of longitudinal observation and laboratory analyses. To achieve this, samples and clinical data will be collected from women undergoing surgery. These samples will be used in state-of-the-art biomedical assays to improve our understanding of the underlying biology of these symptoms in women with endometriosis and/or fibroids, which will lead to a better understanding of the conditions, stratification of patient groups and tailored therapies, and the development of novel drug targets and biomarkers for diagnosis and treatment. Read more… 

FENOX Logo

TRIPP

 Aim - To revolutionise the understanding of endometriosis-associated pain (EAP) and bladder pain syndrome (BPS), identify meaningful subgroups of patients, develop better preclinical models and ultimately facilitate drug development.

TRiPP is focused on two specific types of chronic pain: endometriosis-associated pain and bladder pain syndrome. The main hypothesis of TRiPP is that the pain symptoms experienced by women with these conditions are generated and maintained by mechanisms similar to those found in other chronic pain conditions, but occur in combination with specific pathological lesions and symptoms. We believe that reconceptualising these conditions in the context of the multi system dysfunction known for other chronic pain conditions rather than as end-organ pathologies has the potential to revolutionise our understanding of the conditions, allow us to identify meaningful subgroups of patients, develop better preclinical models and thus ultimately facilitate drug development in this field. Read more… 

TRiPP – Translational Research in Pelvic PainChronic pelvic pain is as common as asthma, migraine and back pain and associated with a significant reduction in quality of life, yet it remains a neglected area of research.

Click here to read more about the range of research studies being done at the EndoCaRe Centre.

Research Projects

All our research studies break down into a number of smaller research projects. These projects are supervised by academics within the Centre and the wider Department and are undertaken by postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers.

Click here to read more about the range of research projects being done at the EndoCaRe Centre.

Academic Collaborations

We strongly believe that collaborative research is essential for scientific advances. Over the years we have very successfully engaged in many collaborations within the Department, the University of Oxford, nationally and internationally.

Together with colleagues from Harvard University and the World Endometriosis Research Foundation, we recently initiated a worldwide collaboration, the WERF EPHect project, aimed at the harmonisation and standardisation of phenotypic data and biological sample collection and processing in endometriosis research. This global effort involved 30+ research centres and 3 industrial partners. Combining existing evidence and expert opinions resulted in the publication of protocols that are now the standard and form the basis for endometriosis research internationally. These freely available protocols are regularly updated as new evidence arises.

EndoCaRe Academic Partners 1

Nationally we are part of the UK Endometriosis Network. Regular meetings involving groups interested in basic, translational and clinical endometriosis research take place bi-annually to foster exchange of scientific ideas and encourage further collaborations between centres. Currently, the Network involves centres in Oxford, London (UCLH), Aberdeen, Liverpool and Edinburgh, but is explicitly open to anyone within the UK interested in advancing endometriosis research.

We have also a strong record of collaborative links with pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies. For instance, Oxford University signed a collaborative agreement with Bayer HealthCare on a programme of work to discover new drug targets for endometriosis and uterine fibroids. We play a key role in providing expertise as well as clinical data and samples for the work, in which we collaborate closely with the Target Discovery Institute, the Botnar Research Centre and the Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB).

Together with investigators at the QIMR Berghofer Institute for Medical Research in Brisbane and Harvard University, we have founded the International Endogene Consortium (IEC), which aims to improve understanding of endometriosis through large-scale genetic studies. With the IEC, we have discovered 7 out of the 9 known genetic variants associated with endometriosis to date. These studies have cemented the role of genetics in the development and establishment of the disease, and are shedding new light on causal biological pathways and potential subtypes of disease – important information for drug target discovery. Over the years the IEC has been expanding, and we are actively looking for further research groups with genetic data on women with endometriosis.

Other international collaborations include groups at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA), Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, USA), the University of Tartu (Estonia), the University of Liverpool and the Ponce School of Medicine and Health Sciences (Puerto Rico).

EndoCaRe Centre Academic Partners 2

Funding Partners

Our research is funded by a number of national and international academic and industry sponsors, including: Bayer HealthCare, the European CommissionMDNA Life Sciences Inc., the Medical Research Council, the National Institutes of Health USARoche DiagnosticsVolition, the Wellcome Trust,  and the World Endometriosis Research Foundation.

EndoCaRe Centre Funding Partners

INDUSTRY COLLABORATIONS

We are highly interested in advancing science as it will eventually lead to improved clinical management of women with endometriosis. As such, collaborative efforts involving industrial partners are highly welcome and encouraged.

We have a well functioning team of experienced research nurses, excellent laboratory technicians and dedicated clinicians and clinician-scientists who work closely together with our Director of Clinical GovernanceResearch and Development Office of the Hospital Trust and the University Research Services Department. This strong integrated network ensures high quality data and sample collection and storage using the highest ethical standards.

For example, Bayer-Oxford Research in Gynaecological Therapies is a strategic research alliance between The University of Oxford and Bayer HealthCare. It aims to develop innovative treatments for endometriosis and uterine fibroids. Both conditions affect millions of women worldwide and are still poorly understood, presenting a high unmet medical need for innovative therapies as there is no known curative drug treatment available.

For enquiries please contact the Team at: gynaeresearchoxford@wrh.ox.ac.uk

EndoCaRe Centre Industry Partners