One Step Closer to Giving Men the Pill – Non-Hormonal Contraceptive Tablet Can Prevent 99% of Pregnancies, Trial Finds
by Emily Craig
The decades-long ambition of creating a male contraceptive pill has today moved another step closer to reality.
For experts claim to have developed a tablet that’s 99 per cent effective at blocking pregnancies, putting it on par with the actual female version.
…University of Minnesota researchers plan human trials of the drug — which inhibits a protein to stop the formation of sperm — later this year.
Other candidates exist, including ones that have been trialled on men in Britain over the past few years.
But Professor Gunda Georg, who led the study, said YCT529 is ‘the furthest ahead of all contraceptive agents for men’.
Scientists have been trying since the 1950s to develop an effective male oral contraceptive, including pills, gels and injections.
None have been approved, and even the most promising options are still thought to be years away from being widely available.
A major hurdle is that the female contraceptive works by preventing ovulation, which happens once a month.
Any male contraceptives would need to interrupt the production of millions of sperm made by men every day.
Most of the drugs undergoing clinical trials target testosterone, blocking the male sex hormone from producing healthy sperm cells.
…Abdullah Al Noman, who helped create YCT529, said: ‘We wanted to develop a non-hormonal male contraceptive to avoid these side effects.’
YCT529 targets retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-a), a protein heavily involved in the development of cells, including sperm formation.
When they gave the drug orally to mice for four weeks, it ‘dramatically reduced’ their sperm counts, the researchers said.
It was also 99 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy and worked ‘without any observable side effects’.
…Condoms, which are ‘prone to failure’, and a vasectomy — a surgical procedure that permanently prevents pregnancy — are the only effective birth control options for men.
…She told US news website The Daily Beast: ‘YCT529 is the furthest ahead of all contraceptive agents for men.’
Mr Al Noman told the website: ‘Birth control is a critical health-care issue. About more than half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended pregnancies.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A contraceptive pill for men may be on the horizon after a new treatment prevented male mice from getting females pregnant. The non-hormonal drug offers hope of expanding birth control options for men and their partners.
(Link): The Fear of Male Birth Control