The overall goal is to develop an antibody based, barrier contraceptive microbicide. This application is limited to the production and in vitro evaluation of a human anti-sperm secretory IgA (SigA), that is expressed at high levels in corn. SigA antibodies are non-inflammatory and the predominant isotype of antibody on mucosal surfaces, and protection generally correlates with levels of SigA antibodies in the mucus secretions of the gastrointestinal, respiratory and genitourinary tracts. The role of antibodies in immune infertility, their potency, and specificity of antibodies make their candidates for use in female controlled-barrier methods. These studies will demonstrate the feasibility of making a contraceptive plantibody in plants and provide a suitable low cost product for clinical development.
Antibody-based technology is now coming to fruition for systemic therapeutics, but eh untapped commercial applications for antibodies are in mucosal prevention. A vaginal contraceptive microbicide is one important application for mucosal antibodies, but the technology is so flexible that it is readily extended to other contraceptive and reproductive health applications or to the prevention of diseases by pathogens at other mucosal sites.