The following information describes the branch’s research programs and program areas.
Program Officials: Daniel Johnston, Steven C. Kaufman, David H. Weinberg
Within this program area, CRB’s goal is to promote contraceptive research and development to prevent or reduce unintended pregnancies by:
- Developing new male and female contraceptive methods
- Supporting research that may lead to new methods for inhibiting ovulation, fertilization, or spermatogenesis
- Conducting experimental studies in animals and humans
- Supporting research directed at multi-purpose prevention technologies and on-demand contraception
Contraceptive research and development is critical for providing safer, more efficacious methods of preventing unintended pregnancies, especially in light of the continued growth of the global population. Although numerous contraceptive methods are currently available, approximately one-half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended. In part, this results from the failure to use available methods because of dissatisfaction with those methods. Having a variety of contraceptive methods available for widespread use that meet the diverse needs of individuals with different ethnicities, cultures, and religious values—and that adapt as the needs of individuals change over time—would be ideal, and it is with this optimal situation in mind that the branch pursues its mission.
The branch uses a variety of funding mechanisms to promote contraceptive research and development. New ideas are generated by the Contraceptive Development Research Centers Program and the Male Contraceptive Development Program, by discussions at conferences, and by investigator-initiated grants. Selected new contraceptive leads move forward with assistance from one of the branch’s support contractors. A Medicinal Chemistry Facility assists investigators in pursuing integrated structure-based drug design/discovery and optimization, encompassing screening, structural biology, modeling, and synthesis. The branch also supports testing of biological activity, pharmacology, and toxicology of compounds of interest as required for product advancement to the clinic.