Non-Hormonal Patch to Revolutionize Women's Contraception

Oct 18, 2007
A new method of contraception that won a Nobel prize for medicine last year soon will make a breakthrough in birth control.

By using the completely new technique that is called RNA interference (RNAi) scientists can affect the gene that is active in eggs before they can be fertilized by sperm. When the ZP3 gene is switched off by RNAi method, the egg develops without outer membrane where sperm connects to the egg for conception.

This method is considered to be reversible as only eggs on final stages of formation are modified while other eggs can remain in store for future fertilization when woman discontinues using this method.

Besides RNAi would have no side-effects often associated with birth control pills like loss of libido, headaches, weight gain and risks of heart attacks, blood clots and other.

Zev Williams, a leading scientist from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, demonstrated the results of trials on mice at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in Washington. Those mice who had their eggs switched off by RNAi were infertile.

More research is needed to develop the drug that most probably would be in a form of a patch or suppository, that will be replaced once a month. Though human trials would be possible in a decade, this can revolutionize the birth control giving safer options for women.

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