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Pregmama developing pill to help women remain fertile


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Published on: Wednesday, July 03, 2013

By Donna Broadway

GAITHERSBURG – June Cleaver is no longer the prototype for women, according to a PEW study—40 percent of women are breadwinners and 20 percent of men have moved into the role of fulltime caretaker.

Statistics from the bureau of labor statics show that 28.6 percent of women have bachelor degrees or higher and 18 percent of upper management positions are held by women. With women on the move in their education and careers, stats from the March of Dimes show that one in five couples begin conception attempts after age 34. After age 35, egg quality begins to decline, with an 87 percent loss of fertility by age 45 and menopause, which is the complete loss of fertility in women occurring around age 51.

Husband and wife duo, Dr. Lori Bernstein and Barry Datloff of Pregmama are working to develop the first drug to improve egg quality in women aged 35 to mid 40s.  The couple draws on their experience of having eight miscarriages while conceiving their daughter who is 12. The couple adopted their second child, a boy.

“It still bothered us that other people had to go through the pain and expense of infertility therapy and adoption is not cheap either. Lori came up with an idea that was so brilliant that I looked at her and said ‘let’s patent it and start a business around it,’” Datloff said.

The drug, Fertamx, was developed by Dr. Bernstein, a cancer biologist who studied chromosomal instability, while she was on staff at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. According to statistics provided by Datloff, eggs in women over 35 are at greater risk for aneuploidy or missing or extra chromosomes. The differencing chromosomes may cause miscarriage, Down Syndrome, or trisomy birth defect.

The drug will affect the over 350,000 couples who are attempting to conceive a child when the woman is over 35 or older.

“Women over 34, if they have multiple miscarriages are told to either adopt or get donor eggs but that doesn’t solve the desire for an individual to reproduce with their own DNA. There is a tremendous sentiment in the infertility community of those having been there that there should be some way to do better,” Datloff said.

Datloff is hesitant to say exactly how Fertamax works but will say that the therapy is noninvasive.

The drug is in preliminary clinical trials and is partially financed through grants from the University of Maryland MTech MIPS program, and the State of Maryland TEDCO MTTCF program, and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The clinical trials and FDA approval process will take years but Datloff said Fertamax has the interest of several fertility clinics and will be cheaper than IVF.

For more information on Pregmama and Fertamax, visit www.pregmama.com.

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