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June 29, 2022

• Project results will contribute to the international Human Cell Atlas initiative to redefine human anatomy at the single cell level and provide unprecedented insight into this important organ

• 59 samples have been analyzed, generating an important database that will favor future studies and increase knowledge of the uterus and its clinical translation in reproductive medicine, obstetrics, gynecology and regenerative medicine

Valencia, June 29th 2022. The INCLIVA Health Research Institute, of the Clinical Hospital of Valencia, has hosted the final meeting of the European project HUTER (Human Uterus Cell Atlas), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program with the aim of creating the map cell from the human uterus and in which entities from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Estonia and Spain participate.

During the meeting, the different partners shared the results obtained in this project, coordinated by INCLIVA and focused on better understanding the cellular basis of health and the pathologies of the human uterus in order to more effectively diagnose and treat uterine diseases that affect the women’s health, such as fibroids, preeclampsia or endometriosis, which can contribute to infertility, maternal and infant mortality and morbidity.

“Despite all the complications that have resulted from the global COVID pandemic, we have managed to meet all of our goals to map the uterus at single cell resolution like never before. The results obtained from this coordinated project will help to better understand the functioning of the human uterus. This will allow us to understand how many diseases of the female reproductive tract occur and, in turn, how to solve them”, explains Professor Carlos Simón, coordinator of the project and principal investigator of the INCLIVA Reproductive Medicine Research Group.

The researchers participating in the project have studied for two and a half years tissue samples of the endometrium and myometrium, from patients recruited in Estonia, the United Kingdom and Spain, for their molecular characterization at single-cell resolution, analyzing gene expression, epigenomics and performing high-resolution spatial mapping of the cells that make up said uterine tissues. A total of 59 samples have been analyzed, surpassing the initial objective and generating an important database that is being evaluated and will favor future studies by the scientific community at a global level.

At the same time, a cloud-based open access platform has been designed for the safe use, search and visualization of data, which will lay the foundations to allow improvements towards more personalized therapies and highly precise and less invasive diagnostic procedures. This platform has shown great potential as a storage, processing and analysis tool for biomedical research data, such as single-cell RNA sequencing data, imaging, clinical and biological data.

With the results obtained, HUTER will contribute to the international Human Cell Atlas (HCA) initiative, made up of researchers from around the world to redefine, through the use of new technologies, the human anatomy at the single cell level in all the vital organs of the human body.

HUTER is the only HCA project that has been working in the female uterus to provide an unprecedented cell-by-cell view of spatial-level genetic and proteomic changes in this important organ throughout life of the woman. This work will increase the knowledge of the uterus and its clinical translation in reproductive medicine, obstetrics, gynecology and regenerative medicine.

In addition to INCLIVA, Bahía Software (Spain), Uppsala University (Sweden), the Competence Center on Health Technologies (Estonia) and the Wellcome Sanger Institute and the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) have participated in the HUTER project.