New Research Aims to Revolutionize Endometriosis Management
A Canterbury researcher has secured funding for a groundbreaking research project aimed at revolutionizing the management of endometriosis, a debilitating disease affecting over 100,000 women in New Zealand. Dr. Rachael Wood from the University of Canterbury will receive a $360,000 grant over three years from the Marsden Fund, supporting early career researchers in developing independent research.
Endometriosis is an incurable disease that can cause severe pain, fatigue, and nausea, as well as reduced fertility. Despite affecting 10% of New Zealand women and those assigned female at birth, it remains poorly understood and difficult to diagnose and treat.
Dr. Wood, along with her team from UC’s Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, conducted a pilot project where they discovered that endometriosis shares invasive properties with hormone-driven cancers. With the newly acquired funding, Dr. Wood aims to investigate how endometriosis tissue modifies its environment to aid invasion. By studying the mechanical properties of both healthy and diseased tissues, they will develop 3D models for experimental work.
Understanding the mechanical properties, such as stiffness, of endometriotic tissue and its impact on invasion could potentially lead to the development of new diagnostic and treatment strategies. This breakthrough could bring relief to millions of women worldwide suffering from endometriosis.
The Marsden Fund grants received by the University of Canterbury encompass a wide range of research topics, including remote sensing technology for water conservation, changes to speech and language with aging, and the evolution of planetary systems.
Professor Gill Dobbie, Chair of the Marsden Fund Council, emphasized the significant number of female-led projects in this year’s funding round, highlighting the importance of representation and inclusion in research communities. Increasing diversity allows for innovative approaches and perspectives, ultimately benefiting society as a whole.
The Marsden Fund, managed by the Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of the New Zealand Government, supports fundamental research across various disciplines with global significance. The latest funding round demonstrates the commitment to advancing knowledge and addressing pressing challenges faced both in New Zealand and worldwide.
Dr. Wood’s pioneering research on endometriosis holds the promise of transforming the lives of countless women affected by this debilitating disease. With the support of the Marsden Fund, her efforts will contribute to better understanding, diagnosing, and treating endometriosis, offering hope for improved management strategies in the near future.