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Structure of RU486 - abortion inducing drug

Structure of RU486 - abortion inducing drug

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Credit

PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PHILIPPE PLAILLY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Molecular modelling of a structure for RU486, an abortion-inducing drug, using an Evans & Sutherland PS-300 computer graphics system. RU486 is a steroid hormone similar to progesterone, the production of which by the ovary & placenta is essential to maintain a pregnancy. RU486 binds to cells in the same manner as progesterone does, but blocks the effects of the natural hormone. Two days after an oral dose of RU486, the woman takes a drug called a prostaglandin, which initiates contractions of the uterus that result in the expulsion of the embryo - a drug-induced termination (abortion). RU486 is presently (Nov 1989) only used in clinical trials.

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