Genetically modified hormone opens doors to personalized fertility treatments

pregnancy support
Image credit: Lizzie Goodman

An Israeli biotechnology firm based in Be’er Tuvia in southern Israel has developed a new-generation fertility treatment through the manipulation of human cells, creating a hormone that can be personalized to boost the chances of patients who seek to get pregnant.

The medication, called Rekovelle, was launched last year by Ferring, a privately held Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company, which in 2005 acquired Bio-Technology General.

The follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), secreted by the gonadotropic cells of the anterior pituitary gland, regulates puberty maturation and the reproductive processes of the body. The hormone, originally extracted by pharma giant Serono from the urine of menopausal nuns in Italy with the blessing of the Pope Pius XII, has been used for years as part of in-vitro fertilization treatments to stimulate follicles in the ovaries of women who fail to get pregnant.

Related article:  'Testes in overdrive': Male efforts to improve attractiveness can damage ability to have children

BTG, however, has managed to genetically engineer human cell cultures to get them to emit FSH, which is then collected and transformed into an active pharmaceutical ingredient.

Ferring combined its Rekovelle hormone therapy with a diagnostic test that enables physicians to predict how women will respond to the hormone — according to their age, weight and the amount of hormones they already have in their bodies. This allows doctors to calculate each patients’ recommended daily dosage, instead of updating treatment according to their reaction to the drugs.

Read full, original post: Biotech firm in Israel makes fertility waves with genetically modified hormone

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