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Scientist Takes Aim at Her Longtime Silent Scourge, Endometriosis

by Carolyn Y. Johnson,  Boston Globe,  Dec 4, 2009
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Linda Griffith is a scientific star. The winner of a MacArthur “genius’’ grant and a pioneer in tissue engineering at MIT, she famously helped grow a human ear on the back of a mouse.

All the while, she was dealing with disabling bouts of pain caused by endometriosis, a disease in which tissue normally found in the uterus begins to grow elsewhere, usually in the pelvic area. But it was not something she talked about much, until her 12-year-old niece began suffering the same symptoms Griffith first experienced as a teen - terrible menstrual cramps, excessive bleeding, and pain so intense she would pass out.

Now Griffith has made it her mission to unravel this disease, after realizing that she has the unusual combination of personal experience, scientific expertise, and academic clout to make headway against an ailment that afflicts 5 percent to 10 percent of women, often at a young age.

With about $10 million pieced together from government and private sources, Griffith will lead a new Center for Gynepathology Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, devoted to better understanding and ultimately finding treatments for endometriosis and similar conditions that get relatively little attention from researchers, doctors, and drug companies. Read more.


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