In 1993, Congress passed Public Law 103-43 directing NICHD to fund contraceptive research centers and to focus the efforts of these centers on research that may lead to new contraceptive products. Because the complexity of contraceptive research and development could severely limit progress achieved by individual investigators working alone, the institute funds CDRCP through a Specialized Cooperative Research Center Award mechanism (U54), allowing NIH scientific and programmatic staff to be substantially involved with the awardees during performance of the activities.
Funded through NICHD’s Contraception Research Branch, CDRCP includes multiple centers and technical service core facilities. The centers are interactively organized to allow research on discovering and/or developing promising new leads for regulation of fertility, as well as additional relevant projects. Individual projects focus on basic, preclinical, and/or clinical research. CDRCP also serves as a national resource for supporting the career development of young scientists who elect to pursue research in fertility regulation.
Each center addresses three or more projects devoted to basic or clinical research on new contraceptives. These projects rely on a variety of approaches, such as:
- Male contraceptive targets for novel inhibitors including the following:
- Testis-Specific Serine Kinases (TSSK)
- Bromodomain Testis Associated (BRDT)
- Retinoic Acid Receptor Alpha (RAR-alpha)
The centers also address issues such as novel delivery methods for contraception, dual-use compounds (i.e., those that protect against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy) for women, translational research aimed at product identification and optimization for male contraception, and non-hormonal methods of ovulation inhibition for contraception.
The centers share common resources and research information throughout the 5-year funding period. Within the centers, training opportunities are also a priority.