Jill Durocher

Improving Current Therapies and Exploring New Options in Abortifacient Technology

December 21st, 2005
Meeting Report
Medical Abortion
Aldrich, T. (ed), Gynuity Health Projects

In June 2004, Gynuity convened a small group of international experts in the field of medical abortion and women’s health for a symposium held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Participants discussed current activities around novel abortifacient development and debated how best to balance resources between this research and efforts to improve existing medical abortion regimens. Participants included basic science researchers, social scientists, clinicians, and pharmaceutical industry experts. Much of the meeting focused on promising avenues of research and drug candidates in the areas of antiprogestins, other antihormones, prostaglandins and analogues, antifolates and antimetabolites, and angiogenesis inhibitor drugs (currently being developed as cancer therapies). More broadly, participants explored the qualities of an “ideal” abortifacient, as well as the social and political considerations involved in developing and promoting new therapies. Among the priority areas identified for future collaborative work were: 1) continuing to introduce medical abortion in countries where it is currently unavailable; 2) determining the lowest effective dose of misoprostol and developing single-dose regimens for mifepristone-misoprostol medical abortion; 3) establishing the minimum technology required for medical abortion; and 4) improving medical abortion for gestations >9 weeks.