IB Research: Citokin analysis for early detection of endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease which causes dysmenorrhea or menstrual pain and, depending on where the lesion is located, it can also cause constipation or hematuria (blood in urine), pain during sexual intercourse and even sterility. The average time taken to detect it is 8 years, a period of time during which the patient has suffered from pain and has, quite possibly, been sterile. Its cause is, to date, unknown and its effect on fertility is variable. However, is it understood to affect 50% of women with reproduction issues.
With the aim of ostensibly shortening detection time-frames and anticipating onset, research work is being carried out by both the Endometriosis Unit at Instituto Bernabeu and the laboratory team at IB Biotech. The study aims to gain a greater knowledge of a specific group of cytokines, the proteins responsible for intercellular communication and inflammation mechanism regulation, known as interleukins.
The work carried out by Dr Ana Fabregat and her team consists of determining which of a panel of interleukins have an influence from an endometrial point of view. “Analysis of biochemical markers present in the patient's blood allows us to determine if the cause of the endometriosis is auto-immune and if, therefore, there is a local component which might explain implantation failure", explains Dr Fabregat.
Dr Belén Moliner, Director of the Endometriosis Unit at IB, believes that this information, along with a patient haemogram analysis, would make detection of the illness in a much smaller space of time possible and would eliminate the need for an ultrasound scan. According to Dr Moliner, “early detection of endometriosis would lead to better quality of life for patients since, as well as being able to treat the illness prior to it appearing, it would enable personalised reproduction counselling. This would mean establishing possible future reproduction scenarios for each patient and ensuring fertility issues do not arise. For example, getting pregnant before the disease flares up or proceeding to freeze eggs”.