An experimental latest drug that briefly blocks the male sperm is being hailed as a “game changer” within the seek for an elusive contraception pill for men.
The drug was tested in pre-clinical trials in mice and showed 100 per cent effectiveness in stopping pregnancy, in line with a peer-reviewed study published in Nature Communications on Tuesday.
Researchers at Cornell University injected the non-hormonal drug in male mice and among the many 52 pairings that they tested, not a single female mouse got pregnant.
The drug works almost like an off-on switch because the sperm movement is blocked for as much as 2.5 hours by utilizing an inhibitor to focus on soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC), which is crucial for sperm motility and maturation. Motility then seemed to be restored the following day.
“So the concept is that they take that pill about half-hour before they wish to have intercourse after which their fertility is protected after which about 24 to 48 hours, their fertility comes back,” Dr. Melanie Balbach, a reproduction biologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and co-author of the study, told Global News.
It’s an “on-demand” approach for male contraception that isn’t based on hormones and is “very different” than hormonal contraception pills for ladies, said Balbach.
Women on contraception pills typically must follow an everyday multi-week regimen to forestall ovulation.
Within the case of this drug being designed by Balbach and her colleagues, “it really hopefully may be taken as often as the lads wish to have intercourse,” she said.
After mice, the drug is now being tested in rabbits which are “more just like humans,” said Balbach.
Nonetheless, it would take two to a few years before they’ll start clinical trials and see if the drug is protected and effective for humans, she said.
“We hope in about six to eight years, if all the things goes well, it can come to (the) market.”
Thus far, the major methods of contraception for men are condoms and vasectomy, but a variety of drugs are being developed.
Women have several ways to manage pregnancy similar to pills, sponges, gels, IUDs, vaginal rings and diaphragms.
University of Ottawa professor Christabelle Sethna, an authority on the history of the contraception pill for ladies in Canada, said it’s “wonderful” to have more options “because women have been shouldering the burden of contraception for a long time.”
She cautioned having a male contraception pill might mean condom use would drop, which is a priority for stopping sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) within the case of multiple partners.
If the drug does eventually make its way into the market after showing safety and efficacy, uptake can even be a challenge that may require social and cultural change, Sethna added.
“I feel the marketing corporations have a variety of targets to hit in the event that they want men to take up this pill,” she said.
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