201710 The Role of Stem/Progenitor Cells in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Gynecologic Disorders (Halvorson, GHDB)

Program seeks Council approval for an initiative titled: “The Role of Stem/Progenitor Cells in the Pathogenesis and Treatment of Gynecologic Disorders.”  The proposed initiative will solicit research into the role of stem cells in the disorders of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, endometrial polyps, and pelvic organ prolapse.

Over the past decade, substantial advances have been made in our understanding of the role of stem cells in normal development, in the pathogenesis of multiple diseases, and as potential therapeutic targets.  Within the gynecologic field, preliminary studies suggest that abnormal mesenchymal or myometrial stem cell behavior may be critical to the pathogenesis and progression of endometriosis and fibroids, respectively. Studies also suggest that activation of progenitor stem cells following vaginal delivery may be critical for the maintenance of pelvic support. While intriguing, these studies are limited in scope and number and point to the need to encourage broader application of these powerful stem cell concepts and approaches to the study of gynecologic disorders. 

The goal of the proposed initiative is to bring together novel interdisciplinary collaborations between stem cell and gynecologic investigators in order to address this identified research gap with the ultimate goal of improving women’s reproductive health.

This proposed concept aligns with the NICHD Vision area of Reproduction and aligns with Branch priorities which emphasize support for studies into the role of endogenous stem cells in the etiology and pathophysiology of gynecologic disorders, including those that utilize or develop stem-cell based therapeutics. 

Program Contact

Lisa Halvorson
Gynecologic Health and Disease Branch

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