In search of glycan biomarkers for the non-invasive diagnosis of endometriosis

Zsuzsanna Kovács

PhD, Postdoctoral researcher at NIBRT

About the project:

Endometriosis not only causes severe pelvic pain and occasionally infertility to the affected women, but also brings a tremendous medical and economic expense to the society. There is a long period between the onset and diagnosis of the disease, mainly due to its non-specific symptoms and the lack of a non-invasive test. Endometriosis can be diagnosed invasively by the gold standard laparoscopy. I and my supervisor, Dr Radka Fahey (leader of GlycoScience research group at NIBRT) aim to identify tractable, non-invasive clinical biomarkers for the detection of endometriosis using our interdisciplinary expertise in glycobiology, gynaecology and microbiology. It is important to recognize the disease early and reduce associated pain, complication and health costs.

The National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) commenced an exciting project in 02 Sept funded through the EU’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions is a researcher mobility fellowship with €300 million budget and supported by the European Commission. This program is one of the most prestigious research application in Europe, as evidenced by the fact that 9875 proposals were submitted to the Research Executive Agency of European Commission in 2019 for about 1000 scholarship place. I have been joined Glyco Science group on awarded EU Marie Currie Individual Researcher Fellowship (GLYCOMENDO; Non-invasive clinical markers for diagnosis of endometriosis. Grant No 843862, H2020-MSCA-IF-2018).


  • Start date
  • End date
  • 2 September 2019
  • 1 September 2021
Glycan isolation protocol from urine has been developed
Collecting clinical samples
Measurements performed
Statistics done
Manuscript ready
Article published

!!!We are looking for collaborator(s)!!!

Glycomendo project started sample collection here in Dublin since last October. Unfortunately, the sampling is not going so well as we hoped and due to COVID-19 situation, these are very hard times for European healthcare systems. We consider that we should make contact with other hospitals too.

I would like to summarize below what would be needed for our project: We do need samples of urine, high vaginal swabs, blood and serum, ideally in two-time points of the cycle- luteal and follicular phase from 60 cases within a half a year. If your institute cannot guarantee the patients’ follow up (30 patients’ follow-up) we would be satisfied with a balanced amount of samples from the two-time points (the luteal or the follicular phase from 60 women). We have three groups – controls (no endo), mild (I and II) and severe endometriosis (III and IV).

Would you have data about hormone levels (estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)) and glucose metabolism (Glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), insulin, fasting glucose levels) from patients’ blood at these time points (that’s why blood, we could separate serum from it also)? If not, we could measure them from blood ourselves.

Optionally, samples of ovarian cancer patients collected as described above are also of interest for the project. As it is known, the incidence of ovarian cancer is more common among women with endometriosis, and our studies would be extended to further investigate the underlying causes of this association.

I am aware of my request is complex but we would not reduce the study cohort because it can help to uncover new connections between endometriosis and glycosylation and identify non-invasive glyco-biomarkers.

We can offer you co-authorship in the future publication(s) resulting from this collaboration and we will pay both the lab test expenses of hormonal level measurements and delivery cost. Please, let me know whether you can or cannot join to the project then we discuss all the details with my principal investigator and Marie-Curie manager.

I look forward to hearing from you at the contact details provided on this website!

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 843862, H2020-MSCA-IF-2018.