Endometriosis: researchers in Toulouse study the disease by creating organoids (Equipe de Françoise LENFANT)
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To better understand the mechanisms of endometriosis, an oestrogen-dependent disease that affects 10% of women in genital activity in France. This is the objective of EndoTreat, a research project conducted in partnership with the Toulouse University Hospital Centre (CHU), INSERM (1) and the start-up company Urosphère, which specialises in the creation of urinary tract organoids.
“Endometriosis is characterised by the presence of persistent ectopic lesions (outside the uterus)”, describes Elodie Chantalat, a gynaecological surgeon at the Toulouse University Hospital.
What is special about this disease? It is characterised by great heterogeneity: different organs can be affected, with very superficial or very deep lesions. The aim of our study is to understand whether it is indeed the same disease according to the different anatomical sites affected, and then to broaden the range of possible treatments by reducing the side effects (mood disorders, hair loss, acne, reduced libido, etc.) that these patients usually suffer when they are treated with contraceptive pills that deprive them of oestrogen,” explains the doctor.
A study with 25 patients
To this end, 25 patients from the University Hospital with different lesions will be included in the study for three years. “From their lesions, we will dissociate the tissues to isolate cells and put them in 3D culture and thus obtain lesion stem cells and recreate endometriosis organoids,” adds Françoise Lenfant, research director at the I2MC (Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases /Inserm). “Several organoids will thus be created from the different lesions of each patient. This is the originality of our work: it will make it possible to compare these lesions according to their anatomical sites for the same patient and to target new drug candidates.
EndoTreat has received 300,000 euros in funding from the Occitanie Region and 23,000 euros from Endofrance.
(1) Inserm /UPS: UR1297 I2MC Team F.Lenfant- Institute of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases and IRDS Team A.Ferrand – Environment and intestinal epithelium.