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Researchers develop nanotechnology to treat endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition affecting females where tissue similar to the innermost layer of the womb, known as the endometrium, proliferates outside of the uterus causing painful lesions. Endometriosis usually involves the female reproductive organs and pelvic tissue lining, with isolated cases involving the spread of lesions beyond the pelvic organs. Approximately 10% of women will be afflicted by endometriosis, whose symptoms range from mild to chronic pain, and can include infertility. However, despite the severity of this disorder, there is currently no cure. Now, a study from researchers at Oregon State University develops a targetted nanotechnology system to alleviate endometriosis and its associated symptoms. The team states their platform consisting of photo-responsive nanoparticles loaded with dye and a thermal therapy was used to seek out and remove lesions in an animal-based model of the disease. The study is published in the journal Small.

Previous studies have shown although endometriosis is incurable there are effective therapies to manage the condition such as medications, hormone therapy, and surgery. Surgery, in particular, can improve fertility through the removal of the offending contusions, however, the lesions are proven to reoccur in 50% of all cases. There is also an issue with the identification of the inflamed and scarred areas, which are notoriously difficult to find, with more than one-quarter of patients needing three or more operations to remove all diseased tissue. Therefore, the development of novel therapeutics and alternative techniques is highly desired. The current study manufactures polymeric nanoparticles loaded with a dye that fluoresces to identify endometriosis lesions and a thermal therapy to ablate them once pinpointed.

The current study develops and evaluates a photo-responsive nanotherapy that detects and eliminates endometriosis lesion with its inbuilt photothermal ablation ability. The polymeric nanotechnology platform is loaded with a silicon naphthalocyanine dye and a photothermal therapy that are both activated by near-infrared laser light. The nanoparticles containing the dye and ablation therapy are injected into an animal model of endometriosis. Results show the nanoparticles efficiently accumulate in endometrial tissue 24 hours after administration.

Data findings show once they reach the pelvic area the nanoparticles fluoresce to show where the lesions are, upon which they destroy them using temperatures reaching 115 degrees Fahrenheit once exposed to near-infrared laser light. The lab stresses the heat produced under infrared laser light is harmless to tissue without the presence of the nanoparticles, with the endometrial lesions eradicated completely within 48 hours.

The team surmises they have developed a nanoparticle‐based system for imaging and eradication of endometriosis in an animal model. For the future, the researchers state their data verifies the use of cancer nanotherapies in the precision treatment of endometriosis.

Source: Oregon State University

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