Could stem cells treat Endometriosis?

Aug 12, 2019

A recent study suggests that stem cells taken from a patient and reprogrammed to become uterine cells, or endometrial stromal fibroblasts, could be key to treating endometrial diseases.

An EMSF, or endometrial stromal fibroblasts’ function is to prevent endometrial disorders such as endometriosis, and keep the endometrium healthy. When it becomes defective, the aforementioned conditions increase in probability.

Stem cell therapy has gained worldwide acclaim as it shows promise in replacing damaged or lost cells from diseases and other health conditions.

A team of scientists over at Northwestern Medicine have been conducting tests regarding iPSCs, or induced pluripotent stem cells that were collected from a patient’s body, such as the bone marrow, and coaxed to become a particular cell type under lab conditions. Initial tests showed that there’s very little risk of rejection by the patient’s immune system because it came from the same host.

Using induced pluripotent stem cells for EMSF therapy to improve or restore the progesterone hormone can be one of the newest ways to treat endometriosis.

Senior author Dr. Serdar Bulun mentioned in the press release that their findings were ‘huge’, and could potentially open new doors for endometriosis treatment. Furthermore, Dr. Bulun stated that this could help prevent young girls from having their social lives and academic potential destroyed from opioid addiction.

The uterus has the ability to turn into different forms as it goes through developmental stages. The first cell layer, called the intermediate mesoderm turns into coelomic epithelium and comprises the gonads’ outer layer. After a while, the reproductive tract known as the Mullerian duct is formed from various cells.

Previously, researchers were unable to come up with a method to turn iPSCs into EMSFs, but Northwestern Medicine researchers were successful in turning iPSCs from human subjects into cells in various stages, e.g., the Mullerian duct, coelomic epithelium, intermediate mesoderm and ESMFs under lab conditions and with hormonal treatments.

Activating the WNT/CTNNB1 pathway has proved to be key in the final step towards ESMF differentiation. In the study, the pathway served as an important regulator of the progesterone receptor and acts as a mediator of progesterone within the endometrium during the iPSC differentiation.

The authors believe that the research findings can prove to be invaluable for molecular theory and improving progesterone resistance within various endometrial diseases.

The study proves that cells may be reprogrammed to respond to progesterone. Dr. Bulun says that the next step will be to effectively replace damaged ESMF cells in the uterus with healthy ones. The cells that are causing inflammation may be replaced by programmed cells, thereby reducing pain and inflammation and possibly for a longer time.

Furthermore, new endometrium may have a higher chance of successfully taking in an embryo procedure, therefore solving infertility, a condition that’s common in women with endometriosis.

Dr. Bulun says that the team hopes to create a whole uterus from iPS cells that are derived from the patient’s own in the near future. 

To your health,

The Healing Miracle Team

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