Birth control pill for men on the way

man

Ah, the male contraceptive pill. Once elusive, but new studies are pointing the way toward and effective birth control pill for men. Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Baylor College of Medicine have found a small molecule compound to create reversible birth control in male mice.

Inhibiting the development of viable sperm

This compound disrupts the development of mature sperm. The quality and quantity of sperm is decreased to the point of effective infertility. When the compound was discontinued in test mice, fertility was restored. More importantly, testosterone production, mating behavior and the health of future offspring was not affected by the compound. Previous male contraceptives have failed in one or all of these key areas rendering them undesirable for a male contraceptive.

Decreased sperm quality and quantity

“Our findings demonstrate that, when given to rodents this compound produces a rapid and reversible decrease in sperm count and mobility with profound effects on fertility,” said James Bradner, MD, the senior author of the report.

Originally meant to treat cancers

The compound, JQ1, was originally synthesized to treat various types of cancer including lung, leukemia and multiple myeloma. Through testing of the compound for side effect, it was discovered that it inhibited key parts of sperm maturation and decreased fertility.

More research needed

“These findings suggest that a reversible, oral male contraceptive may be possible,” said Bradner, who is also on faculty at Harvard Medical School and the Broad Institute. “While we will be conducting more research to see if we can build on our current findings, JQ1 shows initial promise as a lead compound for male contraception.”

Source: ScienceDaily, Cell


 
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