U.S. News: New insights into fibroids might lead to better treatments
UC researchers reveal ways fibroids respond to strain compared to uterine cells
U.S. News & World Report highlighted the University of Cincinnati's research into new avenues to treat fibroids, a painful condition that affects 8 in 10 women during their lifetimes.
Researchers in UC's College of Medicine and College of Engineering and Applied Science found different signaling pathways being used by the fibroid cells compared to the uterine cells.
“That’s important for identifying therapeutic targets because we want to target the tumor without affecting the surrounding tissue,” said Stacey Schutte, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.
The study was published in the journal F&S Science.
In their study, fibroid cells and uterine cells were grown in the lab on plates with an elastic bottom. Researchers then used a vacuum to pull and stretch the cells, mimicking the uterine environment. They saw differences in the way cells held their shape.
"We found that fibroid cells were more sensitive to strain," said lead author Dr. Rachel Warwar, from the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine. She said the findings underscore the importance of incorporating mechanical strain, and not just hormones, into the study of fibroid cells.
"The more we are able to mimic the environment of these cells in the uterus, the more we will understand the pathology of these cells and then can work to target anomalous pathways in fibroid cells," Warwar added.
Featured image at top: UC Research Associate Andreja Moset Zupan, left, and Assistant Professor Stacey Schutte study new avenues to treat fibroids in Schutte's biomedical engineering lab. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand