Gap Medics Blog
March 3, 2017
Gap Medics Blog
March 3, 2017
Scientists think excessive population growth is a cause of scarcity and environmental degradation. A male pill could reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, which accounts for 40 percent of all pregnancies worldwide.
But, big drug companies long ago dropped out of the search for a male contraceptive pill which is able to chemically intercept millions of sperm before they reach a woman’s egg. Right now the chemical burden for contraception relies solely on the female. There’s not much activity in the male contraception field because an effective solution is available on the female side.
Presently, male contraception means a condom or a vasectomy. But researchers from Center for Drug Discovery at Baylor College of Medicine, USA are renewing the search for a better option—an easy-to-take pill that’s safe, fast-acting, and reversible.
The scientists began with lists of genes active in the testes for sperm production and motility and then created knockout mice that lack those genes. Using the gene-editing technology called CRISPR, in collaboration with Japanese scientists, they have so far made more than 75 of these “knockout” mice.
They allowed these mice to mate with normal (wild type) female mice, and if their female partners don’t get pregnant after three to six months, it means the gene might be a target for a contraceptive. Out of 2300 genes that are particularly active in the testes of mice, the researchers have identified 30 genes whose deletion makes the male infertile. Next the scientists are planning a novel screening approach to test whether any of about two billion chemicals can disable these genes in a test tube. Promising chemicals could then be fed to male mice to see if they cause infertility.
Female birth control pills use hormones to inhibit a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs. But hormones have side effects like weight gain, mood changes, and headaches. A trial of one male contraceptive hormone was stopped early in 2011 after one participant committed suicide and others reported depression. Moreover, some drug candidates have made animals permanently sterile which is not the goal of the research. The challenge is to prevent sperm being made without permanently sterilizing the individual.
As a better way to test drugs, Scientists at University of Georgia, USA are investigating yet another high-tech approach. They are turning human skin cells into stem cells that look and act like the spermatogonial cells in the testes. Testing drugs on such cells might provide more accurate leads than tests on mice.
The male pill would also have to start working quickly, a lot sooner than the female pill, which takes about a week to function. Scientists from University of Dundee, U.K. admitted that there are lots of challenges. Because, a women’s ovary usually release one mature egg each month, while a man makes millions of sperm every day. So, the male pill has to be made 100 percent effective and act instantaneously.
Posted in Affordable Care Act, Bioengineering & reverse engineering design, Biological Networks, Biological Networks, Gene Regulation and Evolution, Cell Biology, Cell Biology, Signaling & Cell Circuits, Cell Processing System in Cell Therapy Process Development, Chemical Genetics, Clinical & Translational, Clinical Genomics, CRISPR/Cas9 & Gene Editing, Developmental biology, Diagnostics and Lab Tests, Drug Development Process, drug discovery, Gene Regulation, Gene Therapy & Gene Editing Development, generegulation, Genetics & Innovations in Treatment, Genetics & Pharmaceutical, Genome Biology, Genomic Endocrinology, Genomic Testing: Methodology for Diagnosis, Genomics Pharmacy, Medical and Population Genetics, Pharmaceutical Drug Discovery, Population Health Management, Population Health Management, Genetics & Pharmaceutical, Reproductive Andrology, Reproductive Andrology, Embryology, Genomic Endocrinology, Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Reproductive Genomics, Reproductive Biology & Bio Instrumentation | Tagged birth control pill, contraception, CRISPR, knockout, spermatogonial cell, Stem cell | Leave a Comment »
Acclaimed biologist Rosalind Franklin’s grave in Willesden United Synagogue Cemetery has been given listed status, Historic England announced in marking International Women’s Day this week. Franklin’s tomb commemorates her life and achievements – they include X-ray observations she made of DNA which contributed to the discovery of its helical structure by Crick and Watson in 1953. Meanwhile, Historic England has teamed with The Royal Society to highlight the achievements of 28 remarkable women noted for their achievements in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics and astronomy. The women’s stories have been explored and key historic locations mapped. They include the Marianne North Gallery in Kew Gardens (named for 19th century botanist Marianne North), the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital – founded in 1872 as the New Hospital for Women in London by Anderson, a suffragette and the first English woman to qualify as a doctor, and the Royal Academy of Arts where natural history illustrator and painter Sarah Stone was an honorary exhibitor in the 1780s.
Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN
“Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World,” by artist Rachel Ignotofsky.
Sure, most people have heard of Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, Jane Goodall and Sally Ride.
But for every female scientist whose work has been recognized and celebrated, there are thousands who have been accidentally or purposefully forgotten.
For a few, that might change, thanks to a beautiful new book, “Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World,” by artist Rachel Ignotofsky.
While she highlights some of the classic women in science, she’s also profiled some less familiar faces — and discoveries.
Here are a dozen of our favorites.
Meghan Bartels wrote an earlier version of this post.
Florence Bascom (1862-1945) discovered her love for geology on a childhood trip with her father and a geologist friend of his.
She worked for the US Geographical Survey, particularly specializing in the Piedmont Plateau between the Appalachians and the Atlantic coastal plain. She was voted one of the top 100 geologistsin 1906 in an edition of a magazine called, ironically, American Men of Science.
In addition to her research, she also taught several important geologists of the next generation at Bryn Mawr College.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1890-1998) moved to Miami to write for the Herald, where her father worked. She left to work for the Red Cross during World War I, then returned to the Herald before branching out on her own as a writer.
She was able to see the value and importance of the Everglades despite finding them“too buggy, too wet, too generally inhospitable.” She wrote a book called “The Everglades: Rivers of Grass,” which raised awareness about the threats the ecosystem faced.
She successfully led the opposition to an Army Corps of Engineers planthat would have reduced flooding but destroyed the Everglades. In addition to conservation, she also fought for women’s rights and racial justice.
Celia Payne-Gaposchkin (1900-1979) was the astronomer who discovered that the sun is made of hydrogen and helium.
She went to college in Britain for botany, then attended by chance a lecture given by a prominent physicist, which she found so intriguing she changed fields (the lecturer, Arthur Eddington, became an important mentor for her). She moved across the Atlantic to study at Harvard, where she spent the rest of her career.
Her dissertation was called “the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.” In addition to our sun, she also studied variable stars, taking more than a million photographs of them with her team.