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Researchers May Have Noninvasive Way to Diagnose Endometriosis

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TUESDAY, Sept. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Women can suffer for years from the debilitating pain and medical complications of undiagnosed endometriosis.

Now, researchers think they may be able to diagnose the condition using only menstrual blood, which has distinct characteristics in patients with endometriosis.

“Millions of teens and women have endometriosis without a proper diagnosis, which delays their care and prolongs their pain,” said study co-author Kristin Metz, professor at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes of Medical Research in Manhasset, New York. She is also co-director of the ROSE Endometriosis Study.

“This new paper describes the potential for a new screening tool to identify endometriosis early and enable patients to get the help they need,” Metz said in an institute news release.

In endometriosis, uterine-like tissue grows outside the uterus and forms lesions. This can cause chronic, debilitating pain and infertility.

About 1 in 10 women of childbearing age is affected by this condition, but there are currently no non-invasive diagnostic tools, so it can take seven to ten years to get a diagnosis. Laparoscopic surgery was the only definitive method for diagnosing endometriosis.

Feinstein scientists have been studying the genetic and cellular makeup of menstrual blood since 2016 with the goal of more easily diagnosing endometriosis.

The research analyzed genetic and cellular differences in the menstrual blood of healthy patients compared to those with endometriosis, to find common biomarkers they hoped would lead to new diagnostic approaches and potential treatments.

The new study demonstrates the first use of single-cell RNA sequencing to compare endometrial tissue in freshly collected menstrual blood from 33 study participants.

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It was found that the characteristics of endometrial tissue shed in menstrual blood differed in patients with endometriosis compared to healthy people.

“The ROSE study research helps us understand the molecular and genetic makeup of endometrial tissue…,” said study co-author Dr. Peter Grigersen, professor at the Institute of Molecular Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes and co-director of the ROSE study. “More than 2,000 women have participated in the ROSE study so far and we are grateful to them for helping us produce knowledge that will improve patients’ lives.”

“While endometriosis is a common condition, there is still a lack of diagnosis and appropriate early intervention,” said Dr. Kevin Tracy, President and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes. “These important findings from Dr. Gregersen and Metz promise to change our understanding of this disease and focus on improving the diagnosis and care they need.”

The results were published September 15 in the journal BMC Medicine.

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The Office of Women’s Health has more on endometriosis.

Source: The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health, press release, September 14, 2022

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