Researchers in Australia said on Thursday they have made a “major breakthrough” in diagnosing and treating endometriosis.
The condition, which affects women’s reproductive system, impacts about 10% of women ages 15-44, according to the World Health Organization. Now the Royal Hospital for Women in Australia says for the first time, their team successfully grew tissue from endometriosis in a laboratory. They said this allowed researchers to “observe cell changes and compare how different tissue responds to different treatments.”
They say this could allow doctors to effectively treat variations of endometriosis.
“Thirty years ago, we treated all breast cancers the same. We now know there are many different types of breast cancer and treat them accordingly,” said Jason Abbott, a professor at the Royal Hospital for Women. “This is a similar breakthrough and will allow more targeted and therefore more effective treatment, depending on the type of endometriosis a patient has.”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, endometriosis tissue can grow in places outside of the uterus, including the abdomen, pelvis or even chest. The Cleveland Clinic says that treatment often focuses on the symptoms, which include pain medications and hormone therapies. Given that endometriosis is a chronic disease, surgery is sometimes considered but often results in the condition returning.
The condition is among the most common reproductive health concerns for women.
“By knowing the type of endometriosis, we will be able to predict whether a patient is likely to experience an aggressive, invasive form of the disease and offer treatment to preserve her fertility,” Abbott said.
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