This space represents the ideas, views, opinions, projects and data of researchers within the Aptamer Stream of the Freshman Research Initiative, a program developed at the University of Texas at Austin. These are projects we currently have in the pipeline.
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RNA Aptamer Selection Against Progesterone 3-biotin to Prevent Breastfeeding Complications Abstract
September 1, 2013
RNA Aptamer Selection Against
Progesterone 3-biotin to Prevent Breastfeeding Complications
is a key hormone produced by human animal alike to allow for reproduction and
in turn ensure the survivability and viability of the species (Harris, 2011). The molecule is synthesized from cholesterol
and serves as a precursor to several other steroid hormones. In humans,
progesterone is produced in the ovaries of the female and is produced in the
adrenal glands in both males and females. Progesterone also serves a vital role
in breastfeeding. During a normal pregnancy cycle, after delivery, the
progesterone levels in the female body decreases significantly while the
oxytocin level increases which allows for the mother to breastfeed, which not
only provides benefits to the newborn child, such as allowing the child to be
more resistant to disease and infection early in their life, but also provides
benefits for the mother such as delaying and even preventing osteoporosis, and
reducing the risk of several types of cancers that predominately affect women
(NRDC, 2005). For some women however, progesterone levels might not decrease
after giving birth, thereby preventing the mother from breastfeeding, since
progesterone is a major inhibitor of lactation (Fuller, 2008).
Aptamers are nucleic acid species that tightly
bind to and inhibit a specific target. An aptamer selected against progesterone
could not only prevent breastfeeding complications in the form of
pharmaceuticals, which can provide numerous benefits to both the mother and
child, but can also serve as a form of birth control. Progesterone is a
required hormone to carry a child, and if there aren’t sufficient levels of the
hormone, a miscarriage could occur (Lydon, 1995). That is why progesterone
levels spike during the pregnancy term. By selecting for an aptamer against
progesterone could not only serve as a way to correct a lactation disorder, but
also serves as a potential form of birth control.
mother’s ability to lactate after delivery and her potential to carry a child
in the womb without complications all revolve around the hormone progesterone.
During a typical pregnancy cycle, progesterone levels spike in order to care
for the developing child, and after delivery the levels drop significantly to
allow for lactation. By developing an aptamer against progesterone, one could
develop a cost effective pharmaceutical that not only resolves breastfeeding
complications that may arise after delivery, but also serves as a “morning-after”
pill to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Specific Aim 1:
Select for an aptamer against progesterone that inhibits the molecule to
resolve lactations complications.
Specific Aim 2: Select for an aptamer against progesterone that serves as a cost effective birth control pill.