Researchers at Northwestern University have identified a way of reprogramming stem cells to treat diseases such as endometriosis – a condition in which the endometrium, the lining of the inner wall of the uterus, grows in other areas of the body. This is the first time anyone can create a protocol for this reprogramming.
The study, published in the journal Stem Cell Reports, has prompted pluripotent stem cells to transform into healthy uterine cells by hormonal processes.
"Normal endometrial cells can then be inserted into the uterine cavity to replace defective cells." From there we can solve the problem of resistance to progesterone and these cells can be used in the future to create a whole new uterus, "explains Serdar Bulun, lead study gynecologist.
According to the Northwestern study, endometriosis is a disease that affects about 10% of women of reproductive age in the world, is one of the most common causes of infertility. Endometriosis and infertility are associated in 50% of cases, that is, 50% of women with endometriosis have infertility, and 50% of cases of female infertility can have endometriosis as the primary cause.
What is endometriosis?
Every month, the ovaries produce hormones that stimulate cells in the uterine mucosa (endometrium) to proliferate and are ready to receive a fertilized egg. The mucosa grows in size and becomes thicker.
If these cells (called endometrial cells) develop outside the uterus, endometriosis occurs. In contrast to cells normally found in the uterus that are released during menstruation, the cells outside the uterus remain and grow in place.