New contraceptive approach could also prevent HIV infection

March 26, 2014

With a recently awarded $620,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Drs. Nongnuj Tanphaichitr and Jonathan Angel will continue their research to develop a unique vaginal contraceptive that has the potential to also prevent sexually transmitted infection in women, including HIV. Today, half of all pregnancies in the developing world are unwanted and 30 million people worldwide are living with AIDS. Dr. Tanphaichitr has found that a naturally occurring antimicrobial peptide called LL-37 can inactivate human and mouse sperm. The peptide has also been shown to neutralize the HIV virus. With this, they hope to develop a vaginal gel that could empower women to prevent unwanted pregnancies, as well as HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. See Human Reproduction for details on the group’s recently published findings and CIHR’s Funded Research Database for details on the grant, including a list of co-investigators.

Funders: Grand Challenges Explorations (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), Canadian Institutes of Health Research, International Collaboration and Exchanges NSFC of China

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The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

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