Special to the Journal
Augusta, Ga. - Georgia Regents University has joined the national Cooperative Multicenter Reproductive Medicine Network designed to enable large clinical trials that improve the diagnosis and treatment of reproductive health issues such as male and female infertility.“These types of trials answer important questions about the care of infertile couples and they allow us to offer services to the community that would not otherwise be available,” said Dr. Michael P. Diamond, a reproductive endocrinologist and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Medical College of Georgia at GRU.
Network participation also complements human studies at MCG to better understand complex reproductive issues such as delayed puberty and polycystic ovary syndrome, Diamond said. One of the first network studies he hopes to bring to MCG is evaluating the impact of multiple births on parents, siblings, and extended family, and how they adapt.
Diamond has served for more than a decade as a Principal Investigator of the network of the National Institutes of Health Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
When he came to MCG in early 2013 from Wayne State University in Detroit, he aimed to make MCG and the university part of that network, which also includes the University of North Carolina, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, San Francisco, and the University of Oklahoma.
“The large number of patients and investigators involved with this network enable novel diagnostic and treatment strategies for complex reproductive system issues to move forward with the greatest possible safety and efficiency,” Diamond said. “We are excited to be part of this national initiative.”
For example, network findings recently presented at the International Federation of Fertility Societies/American Society of Reproductive Medicine Annual Meeting indicate that an aromatase inhibitor used to treat breast cancer is also effective as inducing ovulation that results in the birth of healthy babies to women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Letrozole, which is also less expensive than some other infertility therapies, produced higher birth rates without increasing rates of multiple births. Twins or triplets, which often occur as a result of fertility treatment, increase the risk of premature birth as well as prenatal complications.
The 20-year-old network has made the latest reproductive medicine therapies available to qualified patients at no cost. Diamond hopes future studies will enable that in Georgia as well, where much like Michigan, many diagnostic and treatment therapies are not covered by insurance. Additionally, extensive evaluations study participants receive may detect previously unknown conditions. For example, a recent polycystic ovary syndrome study identified cases of both breast and endometrial cancer, Diamond said.
Dr. Stephen A. Krawetz, Associate Director of the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and
Development at Wayne State University, and Dr. Lawrence C. Layman, Chief of the MCG Section of Reproductive Endocrinology, Infertility, and Genetics, are Co-Investigators with Diamond.
MCG receives $1.75 million (grant number HD-39005) as part of the base funding for the network, which includes support for Diamond, Layman, and a research coordinator. Additional federal funds will come to MCG for participation in individual clinical trials as part of the network.