Dr Nicola Tempest, University of Liverpool: Analysis of human endometrial epithelial stem cells and their niche in health and disease by lineage labelling
Aims of our research
Unspecialised cells that have the ability to generate daughter cells with highly specialised functions are called stem cells. Stem cells are essential for maintaining and regenerating any tissue. The lining of the womb (endometrium) undergoes a monthly cycle, of shedding (menstrual bleeding), and subsequent regrowth. Since the endometrium regrows as part of the monthly cycle, researchers believe that stem cells play a major role in this normal regeneration process.
When endometrial stem cells function abnormally, this can lead to common gynaecological diseases, such as:
- endometriosis – condition where the lining of the womb is found outside the womb, usually in the pelvis;
- endometrial hyperplasia, a condition caused by overgrowth of the cells that line the womb, resulting in a thickened lining of the womb. This condition can be a precursor to endometrial cancer;
- endometrial carcinoma – cancer of the lining of the womb.
- To provide conclusive evidence that stem cells exist in the human endometrial glands and determine their precise location within the endometrial tissue;
- To provide evidence that stem cells play a role in the normal regrowth of the lining of the womb after shedding with the woman’s monthly period.
To determine the role of stem cells in diseases such as endometriosis and endometrial cancer.