Professor Krina Zondervan – Endometriosis and auto-immune diseases

Unravelling the association between endometriosis and auto-immune diseases

Wellbeing of Women is funding highly novel work to increase understanding of endometriosis and the connection with auto-immune diseases which could lead to new treatments and even repurposing of current drugs used for auto-immune diseases.

Endometriosis is a chronic disease causing debilitating pelvic pain and reduced fertility affecting 1.5 million women in the UK (176 million worldwide). The disease features endometrium (tissue lining the uterus) that is located outside the uterus. Treatments are limited to repeated surgeries to remove disease tissue, and hormonal drugs with many side-effects. Endometriosis has a huge impact on the personal and working lives of women and their families. It is estimated to cost the UK economy £8.2bn a year in treatment, loss of work and healthcare, and thus represents a very significant medical and societal unmet need.

In this project, Professor Krina Zondervan and her team will investigate whether the connection between endometriosis and auto-immune diseases is ‘true.’ They will investigate the biology of this connection to identify the mechanisms involved.

Professor Krina Zondervan said: “This highly novel work will increase our understanding of fundamental disease mechanisms and enable us to develop urgently needed patient-tailored treatments with fewer side effects – including the potential to re-purpose treatments used in auto-immune diseases for endometriosis.”