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Development of Immunocontraceptives in Female

Contraception is one of the ways of controlling population growth; however, contraceptive methods used today are not available to many individuals due to sociological, financial, or educational limitations. Immunocontraception may provide alternative to the current contraceptive methods due to its reversibility and the fact that most of the developing countries where population growth is highest have service infrastructure for delivery of disease vaccines into which contraceptive vaccines could be incorporated. Historically, immunization of female mice or humans with either sperm or their extracts led to the production of anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) and infertility. However, these studies had a drawback of the presence of several proteins that were shared by other somatic cells. It is critical that antibodies developed by contraceptive vaccine based on sperm-specific proteins should not react with any other somatic cells. Candidate immunogens should either have a fertility-related function that can be blocked by antibody or be located on the sperm surface for ASA to affect sperm motility in the oviduct, uterus, cervix, or vagina. Many sperm antigens identified have potential; however, no single protein fulfills all the criteria necessary for a human vaccine. Therefore, some researchers have opted for construction of multi-antigen vaccines as a mechanism to overcome the limitations of a single molecule. There is also a new idea to engineer monoclonal antibody-based multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) products to address serious problems in female reproductive health, such as highly prevalent sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

August 2022

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Resource Type:

Database
Journal Article
Journal Article
MPT Articles
MPT Article
Resource

Citation:

Contraception is one of the ways of controlling population growth; however, contraceptive methods used today are not available to many individuals due to sociological, financial, or educational limitations. Immunocontraception may provide alternative to the current contraceptive methods due to its reversibility and the fact that most of the developing countries where population growth is highest have service infrastructure for delivery of disease vaccines into which contraceptive vaccines could be incorporated. Historically, immunization of female mice or humans with either sperm or their extracts led to the production of anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) and infertility. However, these studies had a drawback of the presence of several proteins that were shared by other somatic cells. It is critical that antibodies developed by contraceptive vaccine based on sperm-specific proteins should not react with any other somatic cells. Candidate immunogens should either have a fertility-related function that can be blocked by antibody or be located on the sperm surface for ASA to affect sperm motility in the oviduct, uterus, cervix, or vagina. Many sperm antigens identified have potential; however, no single protein fulfills all the criteria necessary for a human vaccine. Therefore, some researchers have opted for construction of multi-antigen vaccines as a mechanism to overcome the limitations of a single molecule. There is also a new idea to engineer monoclonal antibody-based multipurpose prevention technology (MPT) products to address serious problems in female reproductive health, such as highly prevalent sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.

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Authors: Shibahara, H.

Health Risks(s):

  • STI / STD
  • Unintended Pregnancy

Product type(s):

  • Contraceptives
  • MPTs
  • Vaccines

Topic(s):

  • MPTs
  • Development

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