Contraceptive pill 1-per-month to be tested
A once-a-month oral contraceptive pill has been developed in the US, BBC reports.
The pill remains in the stomach for weeks, thus slowly releasing hormones to prevent a pregnancy. Researchers explain It is specially designed to resist immediate attack by stomach acid.
The US team, funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has tested it in pigs and hopes human trials can start within a few years.
How does the star-shaped pill work?
The prototype is a star-shaped drug delivery system packaged into an easy-to-swallow dissolvable capsule. The pill is no bigger than a regular fish oil tablet.
Once it reaches the stomach, the star unfolds like a flower. It begins steadily releasing contraceptive hormones housed on its six arms.
The star is too big to immediately exit the stomach and will remain there for weeks until it has finished its job and can be broken down and excreted from the body.
Our studies suggest there shouldn't be any problem with blockages or digesting and passing food. We take safety very seriously", explains Dr Giovanni Traverso, from Harvard Medical School. He developed the prototype with colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The trial findings are published in the journal Science of Translational Medicine.
A biotech company called Lyndra is now developing the star contraceptive pill with more funds from The Gates Foundation.
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