September 6, 2021

From Prof Peter Rogers: article by Madeline Hislop, April 7, 2021 in Women's Agenda.

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Three new endometriosis research projects to get underway using federal government funding

The Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne is launching three new collaborative research projects as part of a new program hoping to improve outcomes for people with endometriosis and persistent pelvic pain.

The research program will be funded by a $3.9 million grant from the federal government that was announced in 2020 to tackle further research into the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis. Twelve organisations will be involved in the research program, including the University of Melbourne, Jean Hailes and Mercy Health.

The three research projects about to get underway are hoping to improve insights into endometriosis, a condition that is so often overlooked in health research. Endometriosis affects one in ten Australian women and girls, with the average diagnosis for the debilitating condition taking between seven and ten years. The painful symptoms can often prevent those who suffer from it from attending work or study and it can have long-term health and socio-economic impacts. The condition can also affect trans men and non-binary people.

The research projects include:

  • Research on a pre-surgery endometriosis calculator that is aiming to produce a predictor tool for patients to see what their chances of having endometriosis are, prior to going ahead with laparoscopic surgery
  • Research on endometriosis recurrence prediction, that will aim to identify changes in the DNA of cells found in endometriosis lesions to help predict the likelihood of endometriosis reoccurring and enabling clinicians to develop a tailored patient care plan.
  • And a pelvic floor muscle tenderness investigation, looking at links between problems in the pelvic floor muscles and the pelvic pain experienced by women with endometriosis, to hopefully guide treatment pathways that will improve outcomes for women with persistent pelvic pain.

Professor Peter Rogers, director of research at the Royal Women’s Hospital, will lead the research group with 11 other organisations.

By launching these research projects, Professor Rogers said we are three steps closer to finding better treatments for persistent pelvic pain and predicting the most effective treatment for endometriosis.

“More than 700,000 Australians are affected directly by endometriosis and associated persistent pelvic pain, and the Women’s sees hundreds of women and girls every year for this reason,” said Professor Rogers.

“The impacts of endometriosis can be life-changing. On top of the pain which can be debilitating, fatigue, mental health issues and infertility can occur – all of which can affect relationships and financial stability.

“There are thousands of people out there who feel their pain is not understood and their lives are completely dictated by this condition. We know, with research, we can improve outcomes for people with endometriosis and persistent pelvic pain.”

Along with these three projects, there are six other endometriosis research projects in the pipeline that will use the same government funding that has been allocated in line with the National Action Plan for Endometriosis. The plan is Australia’s first ever blueprint aiming improve the treatment, understanding and awareness of the disease.