LivingWhat do we know about the contraceptive pill for...

What do we know about the contraceptive pill for men?

 

Women today have many options for birth control, from birth control pills to patches to intrauterine devices , and because of this, they bear most of the burden of preventing pregnancy. What are men’s birth control options? Only the condom and the vasectomy -the surgical procedure that he considers a permanent method of male sterilization”, but that would be “about” to change.

Researchers have reported on a new non-hormonal male contraceptive pill that disrupts a particular protein involved in sperm formation. The tests in mice are really promising and show to prevent pregnancy, to be reversible in weeks and without observable side effects.

A team of researchers based at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities made a surprising announcement during the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society. Medical chemist and study leader Gunda I. Georg stated that “[the drug’s] efficacy was around 99%” in tests on mice. This percentage puts it on the same level as similar drugs for women, which were first approved by the FDA in 1960.

 

The key, the compound YCT539

Under the name YCT539, the researchers targeted a form of vitamin A, not testosterone, to create a contraceptive drug for men. The new study, led by researchers at the University of Minnesota, targets a protein called RAR-α (RAR-alpha) . This protein plays roles in, among other things, cell differentiation, including sperm production.

“It has long been known that depriving male mice of vitamin A [causes] them to become infertile,” the experts say.

The team examined around 100 compounds to determine how well they can inhibit RAR-α in cells, eventually settling on one called YCT529 that they tested in rodents. The team did not observe any side effects, sperm count was significantly reduced, and the drug was effective in 99% of cases. In addition, the treatment was reversible, with the mice successfully fathering pups four to six weeks after stopping treatment.

There’s no guarantee the results will hold true for humans, but researchers say human clinical trials will begin in late 2022, so we’ll soon know if talk of a male birth control pill will be feasible.

 

Referencia: American Chemical Society Spring 2022 meeting.

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