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Spotlight

of reproductive age and is the most common cause of hysterectomies in the United States. “When I learned that endometriosis is an inflammatory disease and affects only menstruating women, I knew that prostaglandins should play a major role in this disease,” Arosh said. Currently, therapies for endometriosis are limited. Steroids may help ease the pain in the short term, but do not provide lasting benefits for pain or fertility. “People worked with steroids for the last 100 years,” Arosh said. Unfortunately, targeting estrogen is undesirable. Because estrogen is an important hormone women need for their healthy reproductive life, it’s time for researchers to think differently on non-estrogen targets to preserve fertility and reduce pain in endometriosis women.” Surgery is also an option. “The therapies we have now include removing the uterus or the ovaries, but we will not be able to preserve the fertility,” Arosh said. “The affected women can get some relief from the pain for about seven years. After that, the pain does come back.” Seeing the need for something better, Arosh began exploring alternative treatment options, mainly nonsteroidal therapy. He started looking for something more effective with less adverse effects on fertility. By understanding the biochemical mechanism of prostaglandins in endometriosis, he believes that targeting prostaglandin pathways or signaling may emerge as novel non-steroidal therapy for endometriosis in women. Arosh is in the process of developing a drug therapy that targets EP2 and EP4 receptors of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)—involved in the development of endometriosis. He noticed that women with endometriosis have higher concentrations of PGE2, and previous research indicates that PGE2 play a role in the growth and development of endometrial lesions. The therapy Arosh is working on inhibits the PGE2 receptors, thus making PGE2 ineffective. The lesions are less likely to grow and survive. Formation of the blood vessels needed to nourish and supply blood to the lesions is suppressed. Neurons that cause pelvic pain are decreased, inflammation is reduced, and fertility is restored. In the future, this could mean a personalized approach to treating endometriosis. “I hope in the future we will create this potential targeted therapy for women with endometriosis, so that they can preserve their fertility and get some relief from the pain,” Arosh said. Further, Arosh noted that the benefits go beyond Dr. Joe Arosh, Dr. Sakhila Banu, and their twin daughters, Jerusha and Elsha. endometriosis. “When this practice veterinarian, seeing mostly dogs and ruminants. However, Arosh’s interest in reproduction inspired him to pursue research, starting with a master’s in obstetrics and gynecology (India) and a Ph.D. in reproductive endocrinology (Canada). Today, Arosh researches prostaglandins and the uterus using ruminants as a model. Prostaglandins are critical hormones required for estrous cycle and establishment of pregnancy in cows and sheep and other ruminants. “Prostaglandins are central inflammatory mediators,” Arosh said. “They play a major role in inflammation of several diseases. They can have a beneficial role in reproductive biology, but they can also have very adverse effects. Prostaglandin pathways have been targeted by drugs like NSAIDS—Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Tylenol—for more than 100 years to decrease pain and inflammation in human and animal health and diseases.” Pregnancy in ruminants is an essential part of the food and fiber industries, such as the dairy and beef industries, and issues with pregnancies in ruminants can cause economic losses. Therefore, Arosh is looking to understand the mechanisms behind prostaglandins and the uterus and improving reproductive efficiency in ruminants by developing new therapies. Arosh’s research goes beyond veterinary medicine. He has developed an interest in endometriosis, a disorder caused by growth of the uterine lining in places other than the uterus—such as the abdomen—and the body painfully attempting to shed that lining. The condition is estimated to affect between five and 10 percent of women who are

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• Winter 2017

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...

CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...