contraceptive pill for men It is close to entering its human trial phase after showing 99% effectiveness in mouse trials.
The American scientists behind this advance are from the University of Minnesota and presented the results of their research this Tuesday at the Spring 2022 conference of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, California.
According to him, the secret of this pill is that testosterone, the male sex hormone, is not digested, which minimizes the risk of side effects that until now prevented drugs other than condoms from reaching pharmacies as contraceptive methods for men. prevents.
“Most female birth control pills work on female sex hormones,” said Abdullah Al Noman, one of the researchers, noting the lack of approved male oral contraceptives on the market.
“But targeting male sex hormones has many side effects, including weight gain, depression and an increased risk of heart disease,” Told. ,Men are less willing to take the birth control pill which has significant side effects. This is why we are aiming for a non-hormonal route to develop the male contraceptive pill.”
It should be noted that female hormonal contraceptives also cause a number of side effects, but this has not become an obstacle for them to be freely sold in pharmacies and their medical use is recommended in many cases as a method of family planning. She goes.
Although progress has been made on non-hormonal oral contraceptives for women, there are currently no such products on the market and no conclusive studies to support them.
for male case This non-hormonal contraceptive works as an inhibitor of a protein called retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-α), One of a family of three nuclear receptors that bind retinoic acid, a form of vitamin A that plays an important role in sperm formation, among other things.
What the researchers discovered was that deleting the RAR-α gene in male mice rendered them infertile.
Although another study produced an oral compound that inhibited all three nuclear receptors, The University of Minnesota team wanted to produce a drug specific to RAR-α to reduce side effects.
Researchers led by Dr Gunda George found that a compound called YCT529 alone can inhibit RAR-α, The researchers then administered YCT529 orally to male mice over a period of four weeks and dIt was found to significantly reduce sperm count and prevent pregnancy by up to 99 percent without any apparent side effects.
mainly male rats They became fertile again four to six weeks after discontinuing YCT529.
“This is very important: that you kill the target (RAR-α), that you have achieved the desired effect, but that the mice are also viable and healthy,” George said. ,Of course, you have to be careful with this analysis because these are mice and not humans, but the effect was very promising nonetheless.”
Of course, the next question is whether this pill will work in humans without any side effects. George said human clinical trials could begin in the second half of the year.
YourChoice Therapeutics, which now has a license for the drug candidate, is preparing documents and applications for US Food and Drug Administration approval, a prerequisite for clinical trials.
Because there’s no way to guarantee that a drug that works well in animals will be safe and effective in humans, George said his team is continuing to explore other compounds that could make a viable male birth control pill. Could be the reason.
With no oral contraceptive options available, men currently have only condoms and vasectomy options to prevent pregnancy.
Condoms, the researchers said, are single-use and prone to failure, while vasectomy, surgery to cut the vas deferens that allows sperm to travel from the testicles to the penis, is considered permanent, though not necessarily permanent. Is. Surgeries are expensive and not guaranteed to work.