Centre for Reproductive Health

Ministerial visit to CRH / EXPPECT

On 23rd May 2023, members of the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health and the EXPPECT team were delighted to welcome Ms Jenni Minto, The Minister for Public Health and Women’s Health from The Scottish Government, for a visit and discussion on endometriosis research.

Ms Minto was joined by members of Private Office, Ms Rachel Mclellan (Endometriosis Policy Officer), Professor Anna Glasier (Scotland’s Women’s Health Champion) and Ms Shoba Galloway (from the Scottish Government Women’s Health Plan team) who were all keen to learn more about endometriosis research and this common women’s health condition, which affects 1 in 10 women and causes symptoms such as acute pelvic pain, period problems and pain during intercourse. It can also have an impact on fertility.

The EXPPECT Endometriosis Service consists of a multidisciplinary team that aims to advance research into pelvic pain and endometriosis and provide state-of-the-art, high quality, evidence based and patient-centred treatment for the management of all grades of endometriosis. 

Professor David Argyle, Vice Principal and Head of College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, University of Edinburgh, welcomed all visitors and gave an introduction to the ground-breaking women’s health research which takes place at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health and the ways in which these vital studies improve our understanding and treatment of reproductive disorders.

The founder and co-director of the EXPPECT Centre for Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain in Edinburgh, Professor Andrew Horne, leads an interdisciplinary research team of clinical care practitioners, discovery scientists, and commercial partners that investigate and develop innovative approaches to the treatment of chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis and early pregnancy disorders.

Professor Horne introduced himself and his colleagues and presented an overview of EXPPECT’s work, followed by Dr Lucy Whitaker (Clinical Research Lead for EXPPECT) offering a concise summary of the clinical trials currently taking place in the CRH, including investigations into the first ever non-hormonal treatment for endometriosis (the EPIC2 trial).

So far, these studies show that dichloroacetate can make a huge difference to endometriosis sufferers.  If successful, this drug could be the first non-hormonal and non-surgical treatment for endometriosis – and the first new treatment in 40 years.  

Read more about the promising findings from the EPIC2 trial (funded by The Scottish Government and Wellbeing of Women) here.

Katherine Edgley and Francesca Hearn-Yates presented two exemplar EXPPECT PhD projects which focused on researching the symptoms of endometriosis by using wearable technology and the association between diet and symptom relief in endometriosis.

Collage of photos from the ministerial visit to Exxpect
The EXPPECT Team; the round-table discussion takes place; and Ms Jenni Minto asking questions about endometriosis research.

A lively roundtable discussion followed suit, and Ms Jenni Minto posed insightful questions to expand her understanding of EXPPECT / CRH research themes and other women’s health studies (and clinical treatment) priorities.

The members of EXPPECT are very grateful to the Scottish Government for funding the EPIC2 trial and for talking the time to visit and learn more about endometriosis research.

We look forward to welcoming them back in the future to the CRH’s new location within The Institute for Regeneration and Repair:  

Institute for Regeneration and Repair

Attendees at this Ministerial Visit from EXPPECT / The MRC Centre for Reproductive Health / NHS Lothian were:

Professor Andrew Horne (EXPPECT co-Director); Dr Lucy Whitaker, Professor Thanasis Tsanas and Dr Doug Gibson (all EXPPECT Research Leads); Ms Ann Doust (EXPPECT Research Portfolio Manager); Ms Frances Collins (EXPPECT Clinical Trial/Laboratory Research Manager); Ms Priscilla Fernandez (EXPPECT Research Nurse Champion), Ms Katherine Edgley (EXPPECT PhD student), Ms Francesca Hearn-Yeates (EXPPECT PhD student). Ginnie Clark (Communications and Public Engagement Manager, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health); Mr Allister Short (Service Director, Women's and Children's, NHS Lothian).