CU Fertility Clinic’s Breakthrough Research Affects Millions

Advanced Reproductive Medicine is part of the NIH team proving that a new drug results in a 30-40 percent increase in pregnancy for women with the leading cause of infertility

Denver (October 15, 2013) – An estimated 6.1 million women in the United States received very good news today when the National Institutes of Health announced the results of a study that began in 2009 at seven research locations—including one in Denver—proving that the drug Letrozole is 30-40 percent more effective than the previous gold standard drug used to overcome the infertility effects of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

“This is huge news in the field of fertility,” said Dr. Ruben Alvero, director of the University of Colorado’s Advanced Reproductive Medicine (UCARM) and one of the principal investigators on this study being presented as a prize paper in Boston today before the joint meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the International Federation of Fertility Societies.

The first line therapy has always been Clomiphene citrate, and nearly half of the women with PCOS who take it get pregnant. But Letrozole is 30-40 percent better than Clomiphene. That’s great news for potentially millions of women.”

Eighty-five women with PCOS in Colorado took part in the randomized control trial, the first scientifically rigorous study to prove the significant benefit of Letrozole for women with PCOS. Thirty-one Colorado women in the UCARM trial became pregnant taking Letrozole, which is primarily used in breast cancer treatment and is a relatively new drug in the area of ovulation induction.

PCOS is a hormone imbalance problem that can interfere with normal ovulation. Its cause is unknown but it is the most common hormonal abnormality in reproductive age women and a principal cause of female infertility.

As many as 10 percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS, or 6.1 million in the U.S. According to Alvero, Letrozole was found to increase ovulation and improve the chances of successful pregnancy after ovulation. It also has fewer side effects than Clomiphene.

CU’s Advanced Reproductive Medicine was one of seven sites nationwide participating in this trial of the NIH’s Reproductive Medicine Network (RMN). RMN facilitates diagnostic solutions to reproductive problems by maintaining a clinical research network of sites to find answers to important clinical problems more rapidly than individual sites acting alone.

The University of Colorado department bested many other applicants nationwide in the grant process. UCARM has been selected to participate in three straight NIH RMN trials. In addition to the research disclosure today on Letrozole, nine other UCARM research findings garnered juried invitations to present at the joint conference.

While the international acknowledgement of UCARM’s research capabilities is gratifying, Alvero said that the true value is in how the work will ultimately help patients with fertility problems get the best possible pregnancy outcomes.

About University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine

University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine specializes in the evaluation and treatment of infertility and reproductive disorders. The center offers each patient a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan to provide personalized care with the most advanced technology available. Our goal is to make every effort to treat reproductive disorders with simple methods and less expensive therapies. However, in cases where these prove unsuccessful, as a state of the art facility, we draw upon the latest advances and the most sophisticated methods available in infertility and reproductive therapy.