Non-Hormonal Contraceptive On The Horizon

| Total Words: 564

The quest for a non-hormonal birth control pill seems to be going in the right direction as scientists and researchers develop a new contraceptive drug that avoids the side effects of hormonal birth control. During a recent conference of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the concept of RNA Interference was highlighted as a possible technique that will help develop the new contraceptive drug.

RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) Interference is a way of silencing a gene to stop it from working properly, inhibiting a sperm from entering the egg. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have identified a gene called ZP3 which is active in eggs just before they are fertilized. ZP3 produces a protein which allows the sperm to bind to the surface of the egg. If this protein isn’t there, the egg can’t be fertilized. The Boston team silenced the ZP3 gene in mice, and found they could not get pregnant.

At present, there is no contraceptive drug that is non-hormonal and reversible. What we are trying to do is to think about contraception in a new way. Obviously, there are going to be hurdles and it is going to take a lot of time, but...

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