RNAi used as nonhormonal contraceptive

A group of researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston are focused on developing a new, nonhormonal contraceptive that uses RNAi technology to silence the ZP3 gene, which is required to fertilize an egg during ovulation. As the new therapy would only act on the most developed eggs, it would theoretically have no affect on other eggs, which could be used later for fertilization. The advantage would be an end to the kind of often harsh side effects some women suffer from contraceptives, including higher blood pressure. The team of scientists are working now to bring up the efficiency of the contraceptive to 100 percent, and expect to use a patch or vaginal suppository in order to skirt stomach acids.

"What we are trying to do is to think about contraception in a new way. Obviously there are going to be big hurdles and it is going to take a lot of time, but the need is there and we think it can be achieved. Using RNAi to target ZP3 is attractive because the gene is active only in growing eggs," researcher Zev Williams told The Times of London.

- read the report on the research from The Times

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