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    Background and objectives.

    Ada GL; Griffin PD

    In: Vaccines for fertility regulation: the assessment of their safety and efficacy. Proceedings of a Symposium on Assessing the Safety and Efficacy of Vaccines to Regulate Fertility, convened by the WHO Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, Geneva, June 1989, edited by G.L. Ada, P.D. Griffin. Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1991. 5-11. (Scientific Basis of Fertility Regulation)

    The predecessor of the WHO Task Force on Vaccines for Fertility Regulation chose to commit most of its resources to research and development of a vaccine directed against human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Task force members made this choice in 1978 because scientists tended to already know the amino acid sequence and general structure of hCG and a vaccine against hCG would prevent implantation of the fertilized ovum. Specifically they focused on the unique sequence of C-terminal 37 amino acid peptide of the beta chain of hCG because this method would not allow production of antibodies cross reacting with human luteinizing hormone and would reduce the risk of autoimmune pathology and other effects of cross reactivity of antibodies. They also defined the various parameters and the methodology to assess the safety of the approach which still is a useful guide to development of hCG and other antifertility vaccines. The Task Force strongly recommended that target antigens should be temporary and in relatively low amounts and limited to gametes and/or early products of fertilization. A Phase I clinical trial in sterilized women has already been conducted and a limited efficacy trial in fertile women is planned. In June 1989, WHO hosted a symposium in Geneva, Switzerland to review the safety and efficacy of antifertility vaccines based on past and current research and development. This symposium focused much attention on immunological and endocrine considerations. WHO forecasted that recommendations coming from the symposium would not only guide future research on vaccines against self-antigens but maybe even antitumor vaccines.
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