Uterine fibroids are the most important benign neoplastic threat to women’s health worldwide, but disproportionately affect women of color, particularly African American women, who are affected four times more than Caucasian women. The cause for this is not fully understood. Our Center, UniFi (University of Illinois Center for Research on Uterine Fibroid) aims to take the fight against uterine fibroids further.
This center will perform fundamental paradigm shifting basic research on molecular pathogenesis of uterine fibroids and also proposes a clinical trial with a potentially new oral fertility-friendly non-invasive treatment option for women with symptomatic uterine fibroids. Our center will be called “UniFi” and will be a “people-oriented” center that aims to educate and increase awareness in our minority communities that we serve about this common illness and advance an agenda of prevention and health.
Research is a big part of what will be happening at the UniFi Center. Our teams of researchers are expert clinicians and scientists in the field. These projects our researchers will work on will range from basic bench research to translational, clinical and community-based research as well.
Three major research projects will take place at the center. The first project will take a look at molecular origin of uterine fibroids on a global level, looking at the role of stem cells and epigenomics in this disease. The second project will utilize stem cells in the development of epigenetic-based immunotherapies against uterine fibroids. The third project is the clinical project which will take a look at various oral non-invasive treatment options in animal models and in women with symptomatic uterine fibroids.
Our goals in our community are to increase awareness and education of uterine fibroids in order to enhance early diagnosis and intervention. The community that we will be serving is largely African American and Hispanic women therefore is at the greatest risk for development of uterine fibroids.
Through the center, we aim at arming the women in our community with the information and support system they need in order to be vigilant in their fight against this common and frequently confusing disease. We plan on having a strong presence and open communication with the community in the form of an online support line, questions & answers sessions, town hall type gatherings and updated information about new research.
University of Illinois proposes a Center for Research on Human Uterine Fibroids (UniFi) in response to RFA-HD-19- 017. The Center will be based at University of Illinois and will draw on research participants from all over Illinois. In keeping with the multifaceted nature of fibroids, UniFi will be a comprehensive center that in its research projects will focus on paradigm-shifting studies that address the role of stem cells, epigenetics and inflammation in uterine fibroids.
These research-intensive projects will be supported by a first-rate administrative core. The center has access to a racially-diverse population of participants. In addition to clinical and research units, we have an unusually powerful community outreach and education core that has decades of successful healthcare education and mutually rewarding investigational interactions with the 13M people that furnish make up racial diverse communities in the state of Illinois.