Researchers Have Discovered Birth Control Pill For Men
According to a recent discovery, a hormone-free drug tested in male mice might become a viable choice for men who want their own birth-control pill. Researchers have identified a small molecule compound that inhibits sperm production, which could lead to the first non-hormonal, easily reversible male contraceptive since the introduction of the condom. Researchers explained that the compound stifles sperm production, but not s****l activity. Once treatment stops, fertility resumes and males can plan to father healthy offspring.
The new drug is not yet a male “pill,” explained lead researcher Dr. James Bradner, of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School in Boston. “The molecule used in this study, JQ1, is a prototype drug,” Bradner said, explaining that the compound is not intended for human use. “We have successfully administered the agent to animals by mouth, but notably in this research, JQ1 was injected into the belly of the mice and rats studied.”
Researchers injected rodents with JQ1 over an 18-month period and found they were mating as much as ever, but were completely infertile at higher doses of JQ1. After treatment ended, they were able to have healthy offspring. JQ1 works by targeting a protein called BRDT that functions in the testes and is vital for fertility. Unlike previous drugs, JQI can physically reach the cells that make sperm. Sperm cell production drops in number and surviving sperm don’t work as well. “Mice can only report a few obvious symptoms,” Bradner said, “but with that caveat we do not observe any developmental or behavioral effects on offspring.” The results have implications for men as well as mice.
The researchers note that studies in animals often fail to provide similar results in humans, and this new form of birth control won’t be ready for humans in the near future. “The development of a drug-like derivative of JQ1 will require at least a few years of dedicated chemistry and biology, though we may derive early insights from cancer clinical trials of structurally similar agents,” Bradner said.
The study is published in the Aug. 17 issue of the journal named Cell.