Carol Hanna of Oregon Health and Science University in the U.S. will develop an imaging platform using Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography (PET-CT) to visualize the movement of sperm in the female reproductive tract to accelerate testing of non-hormonal contraceptive compounds at lower cost. Emerging research is positioned to discover non-hormonal contraceptive candidates with varying mechanisms of action. However, there is currently no simple or effective way to test them in human-relevant models, which impedes their clinical development. PET-CT is a non-invasive, highly sensitive imaging technique that uses a radioactive tracer and can penetrate deeply into tissues. They will adapt existing mitochondrial-targeted fluorescent dyes to radiolabel sperm and test the ability of PET-CT to precisely track these sperm with high resolution inside the reproductive tract of non-human primates. This technology could help advance contraceptives to clinical testing.
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