Sept. 28-Oct. 4, 2001
Back Issues

U.Va. research closer to new contraceptive
... may work for pets, too

Following the trails of cells: NIH awards $38 million for research
Medical Center submits corrective action plan
Neonatologist named 2001 Distinguished Alumna

Terrorist attacks generate employee stress

Resolved to unity
Credit Union branch temporarily moving
Tracking down Lewis and Clark artifacts
Jefferson lectures look toward bicentennial
U.Va. one of top 10 most wired
Hot Links -- Alumni Association crisis site
Delegates get capital tour on building needs
Museum shows folks folk art
Volunteers roll up their sleeves and open their hearts to help others

U.Va. research closer to new contraceptive

U.Va. researchers have genetically engineered a new protein molecule that is likely to prevent human sperm from reaching female eggs. The molecule, developed from a protein that is naturally produced in the body, could possibly replace harsher spermicides now on the market. Another potential advantage is its ability to be mass-produced inexpensively using bacteria and plants.

John C. Herr, head of the U.Va. Center for Research in Contraceptive and Reproductive Health, and his research team found that genetic engineering of a protein called RASA caused it to bind to the human sperm surface, tangling it with other sperm. In that way, sperm may be prevented from reaching a female’s egg. RASA represents a new class of spermicides called “spermastatics” because the sperm are not killed but stopped, said Herr. The study is published in the September issue of the journal Human Reproduction.


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