In the world of contraception, there are very few solutions intended for men. These are now essentially limited to condoms and surgical operations. Thus, there is no birth control pill that can make a man temporarily infertile. However, things could very quickly change in favor of the male sex.
Indeed, a team of scientists has indicated that they have obtained more than encouraging results with an exclusively male contraceptive pill. It is even preparing to launch clinical trials this year in order to plan for large-scale marketing.
Non-hormonal treatment to limit side effects
The birth control pill is the result of the efforts of researchers at the University of Minnesota. The latter indicated that their product had the ability to intervene in the way the body interacts with vitamin A.
Vitamin A is known to be essential for fertility in mammals. Thus, many diets lacking in vitamin A have been found to be the basis of some people’s infertility. Minnesota researchers therefore relied on this to find a product capable of blocking a protein responsible for cell binding with retinoic acid, which is a form of vitamin A. Said protein is called retinoic acid receptor alpha. (RAR-α).
The idea is to be able to induce sterility in men by blocking RAR-α. However, it is important that the process be durable and reversible while drastically limiting side effects. It should be remembered that adverse effects are a real problem for other male contraceptive treatments currently being tested. Most target testosterone. This generally leads to an increase in cholesterol levels and a decrease in libido.
Problems that would not be present with the treatment proposed by researchers at the University of Minnesota. According to Md Abdullah Al Noman, a senior researcher and graduate student in medicinal chemistry at the university, non-hormonal treatment has very few side effects. This explains their approach.
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A treatment whose effectiveness rate is estimated at 99%
The solution developed by the team of academics was named GPHR-529. Testing to date has focused on male mice given the treatment continuously over a four-week period.
Results presented today at the American Chemical Society’s Spring Meeting showed a sharp drop in sperm counts in mouse-guinea pigs. They became completely infertile during the treatment and regained their fertility four to six weeks after stopping the administration of GPHR-529.
Thus, the efficacy rate of GPHR-529 in preventing pregnancy is estimated at 99%. Better, the treatment did not cause any significant side effects. For Mr. Noman, the tests carried out so far have been very promising. The last stage of the trials will be the so-called clinical one. The GPHR-529 will be administered to volunteers in order to remove the last doubts.
For this, the research team has licensed GPHR-529 to YourChoice Therapeutics. The latter will now take care of the development of the product and therefore the clinical trials which should begin at the end of this year. If all goes as planned then GPHR-529 could become the first male birth control pill to be operational.