Imagine a shot in the arm that would provide reliable contraception until a pill is taken to restore fertility for a while. It wouldn’t disrupt hormones or future reproductive capability, or destroy any fertilized embryos. And it would be effective in both men and women. Our technology could help to make this a reality.
When a sperm cell enters the female reproductive tract (FRT) it activates and moves to its target. Sperm that don’t move are incapable of fertilizing an egg. This means that a treatment that turns off sperm movement in the FRT also turns off fertility. For the female contraceptive we would produce a specially-controlled protein in the FRT which binds to sperm on contact and renders them immobile. The male contraceptive would be a similar protein produced in the seminal fluid which would turn off sperm movement upon contact with the FRT.
While the gene control over this immobilizing/contraceptive protein would allow it to be made constantly, it could be temporarily paused with a separate pill. In science jargon this is called “constitutively active conditional gene promotion control”. The gene contraceptive treatment would be designed to be sent to the male or female reproductive tract by injection into the vein. This avoids some of the ethical/cultural issues with a more “local” injection which would be prevalent in other parts of the world. As with any other non-barrier contraceptive, this treatment would not protect users from STDs.
If you are interested in learning more the application of our smart drug delivery technology in genetic contraception, please contact us.