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Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 1985 Dec. ix, 219 p.In response to mandates of the 1984 International Conference on Population, WHO's Special Program of Research, Development, and Research Training in Human Reproduction has established new Task Forces, strengthened the research capabilities of institutions in developing countries, intensified research on steroidal contraception, expanded attention to the social determinants and consequences of fertility, and increased collaboration with other major international programs engaged in research in human reproduction. The bulk of this annual report includes a technical review of the activities and plans of the Program's 9 Task Forces: Tasks Force on Long-Acting Systemic Agents; Task Force on Postovulatory Methods; Task Force on Vaccines; Task Force on Plants; Task Force on Male Methods; Task Force on Infertility; Task Force on Safety and Efficacy; Task Force on Behavioral and Social Determinants of Fertility; and work in the strengthening of research resources. Each Task Force report is presented in 4 major sections: the field of interest, comprising a brief review of the relevant technical subjects; the strategic plan, explaining how work is structured and scheduled; collaboration with other programs; and activities of the Task Force through the end of 1985. Also included in this report are sections on resources for research and management and financial matters. A Committee on Resources for Research has just been formed to review strategies for strengthening research resources in developing countries.
Advances in Steroid Biochemistry and Pharmacology. 1979; 7:1-8.Due to the numerous adverse side effects of steroidal contraceptives which continuously arise and result in potential decreases in the benefit-to-risk ratio, new chemical and biologic strategies need to be designed and implemented to assure continued success in the contraceptive area. Novel contraceptive stragegies include both new chemical classes and their receptive biologic targets. 4 basic pharmacologic approaches subserve female contraception: inhibition of ovulation; inhibition of fertilization; inhibition of implantation; and interruption of established implantation. Many diverse compounds have been evaluated in regard to a male contraceptive, but problems of toxicity and loss of libido have made the search difficult. The problem is further complicated by the task of trying to eliminate the hundreds of millions of sperm that are constantly being produced and which are in different stages of the spermatogenic cycle. This task calls for chronic dosing and the accompanying problem of eventual liver involvement and hypertrophy of the secondary accessory sex organs. An interesting area supported by the World Health Organization is the identification of plants and the isolation of their active principles for fertility regulating purposes. The United States National Institute of Health supports 3 major and separate programs related to contraception: 1) synthesis and testing of anti-ovulatory agents; 2) synthesis and testing of male contraceptive agents; and 3) peptide antagonists of LH-RH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone) as ovulation inhibitors. The following categories represent areas of research that might prove fruitful: LH-RH agonists; LH-RH antagonists; non-natural synthetic products; inhibin; and plant extracts. These categories are reviewed.