Innovative male birth control research funded


“Our long term goal is to use ultrasound from therapeutic instruments that are commonly found in sports medicine or physical therapy clinics as an inexpensive, long-term, reversible male contraceptive suitable for use in developing countries,”said James Tsuruta, PhD. He and research partner Paul Dayton, PhD have been awarded a $100,000 Grand Challenge Exploration grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their project entitled “Ultrasound as a long-term, reversible contraceptive”.

Tsuruta is an assistant professor in the Laboratories for Reproductive Biology in University of North Carolina’s Department of Pediatrics. Dayton is associate professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, jointly house at UNC and North Carolina State University.

The Grand Challenges Exploration has got to be the coolest award ever: it funds research for scientists around the world to think outside the box. They must present ideas which explore bold and largely unproven ways of making the health in developing countries better. Tsurata and Dayton’s project, “Ultrasound as a long-term, reversible contraceptive” clearly meets that requirement.

“We think this could provide men with up to six months of reliable, low-cost, non-hormonal contraception from a dingle round of treatment,” Tsurata said. The doctors have successfully depleted testicular sperm using ultrasound instruments. Once the testis stop producing sperm, it is impossible to be fertile and procreate. They will use the money to fine tune the technique.

“The winners of these grants show the bold thinking we need to tackle some of the world’s greatest health challenges,” said Dr. Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundations’ Global heath Program. “I’m excited about their ideas and look forward to seeing some of these exploratory project turn into life-saving breakthroughs.”

Source: UNC School of Medicine, Medical News Today


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