Endometriosis  is a debilitating
gynecological medical condition in
females in which endometrial-like cells
appear and flourish in areas outside
the uterine cavity, most commonly on
the ovaries. The uterine cavity is lined
by endometrial cells, which are under
the influence of female hormones.
The World Endometriosis Research
Foundation estimates there are about
100 million women world-wide who
suffer from endometriosis.

Abbott Laboratories and Neurocrine
Biosciences Inc. agreed to  develop
jointly the potential gynecological
treatment elagolix.
Elagolix is aimed at treating pain
associated with the gynecological
condition endometriosis. The drug
recently completed a midstage study
and the companies said they will also
study the drug candidate as a
treatment for uterine fibroids, or
benign tumors in the uterus.

Abbott will receive worldwide exclusive
rights to develop and sell elagolix. It will
pay Neurocrine $75 million upfront and
fund ongoing activities. Neurocrine is
eligible for additional payments of
about $500 million.
The deal follows Neurocrine's
announcement last month of positive
data from a Phase 2 study of the drug.
The drug developer said it would be
ready for Phase 3 clinical trials later
this year.

Endometrial cancer:
An intrauterine device that releases a
progestin hormone may be an effective
treatment for younger women with
early-stage uterine cancer, Italian
researchers report.

By delaying a total hysterectomy,
which is the usual treatment for
endometrial cancer, the IUD allows
women to remain fertile and possibly to
have families, according to the study
published online  in Annals of

About 3 percent to 5 percent of women
who get endometrial cancer, which
affects the womb lining, are under the
age of 40 and will lose their fertility if
they undergo a hysterectomy. The
majority of these women have not yet
had children.

Although the IUD is not yet approved
to treat endometrial cancer, it is
approved and widely used to treat
endometriosis and abnormal uterine

A woman with endometrial cancer will
usually have to undergo a total
hysterectomy - her womb and ovaries
are removed - resulting in infertility.
Surgical removal of the uterus is a very
effective treatment for this type of
cancer during its early stages. In some
cases the woman can be administered
oral hormone therapy which slows
down the cancer's development;
however, there are often undesirable
side effects, including nausea,
vomiting and skin rashes.

Researchers say this new procedure
can buy patients time so that they can
have children before having to have a
hysterectomy. As the IUD delivers the
hormones straight to the target area,
there is a much lower risk of
undesirable side effects.

The researchers studied 39 females
aged between 20 and 40. Twenty of
them had a precursor condition known
as AEH (atypical endometrial
hyperplasia), they had not yet
developed endometrial cancer. The
other fourteen had early stage cancer
- it had not spread beyond the inner
lining of the uterus. They were
implanted with an IUD that slowly
released a progesterone-like hormone
(levonorgestrel) designed to stop the
cancer from growing. They also
received six monthly injections of
gonadotropin-releasing hormone
(GnRH) - this injection stops them from
producing estrogen. Estrogen, a
hormone, encourages the
development of endometrial cancer.

The women had the IUD inside them
for 12 months. The IUD was removed if
the tumor had not continued to grow or
had shrunk, allowing them to try to
become pregnant. After having the
number of children they had planned
for, the patients then underwent

19 of the 20 AEH patients had an initial
complete response to therapy. Four of
them relapsed later.

Almost 300,000 new cases of
endometrial cancer are diagnosed
globally each year. Approximately
75,000 patients die each year.