A Birth Control Pill for Men Could Start Human Trials This Year

According to recent study, the non-hormonal pill was 99% successful in preventing conception in mice.

The first non-condom or non-surgical male contraception is still being developed by scientists. According to recent early study, a group has created a non-hormonal method of male birth control that reportedly had no negative effects while keeping lab mice infertile for four to six weeks. By the end of the year, early human trials of the drug are anticipated to start.

The University of Minnesota researchers that created the suggested contraception claim that it functions by focusing on how our bodies interact with vitamin A, which is known to be crucial for mammalian reproduction. For instance, sterility has been associated with diets low in vitamin A. They spent a lot of time looking before discovering an experimental substance that inhibits retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-), a protein that binds to retinoic acid, a type of vitamin A, in human cells. It is hoped that RAR-, one of three proteins with a related function, would be sufficiently blocked selectively to result in long-lasting but reversible sterility with minimal to no off-target consequences.

Though it's been a long and challenging path to get there, some possible male birth control medications are already closer to realization in clinical studies. The majority of these suggested solutions target testosterone, which may have undesirable side effects like elevated cholesterol or decreased sex desire. According to lead researcher Md Abdullah Al Noman, a graduate student in medicinal chemistry at the university, the UMN team believes their medication might avoid these issues, which may make it a more alluring alternative.

Noman wrote in an email to Gizmodo, "Since males do not have to experience the repercussions of pregnancy, the threshold for adverse effects from birth control tablets is relatively low." "To prevent hormonal side effects, we're working to produce non-hormonal birth control tablets."

The substance, known as GPHR-529, appears to function as anticipated thus far. The scientists discovered that male mice dosed with the medication for four weeks regularly had a dramatic decline in sperm count and were infertile, according to fresh findings presented on Wednesday at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society. With no discernible negative effects, GPHR-529 was shown to be generally 99% efficient in preventing pregnancy. The male mice ceased becoming infertile approximately four to six weeks after they stopped ingesting it. Similar findings from their other animal studies suggest that temporarily producing male sterility by suppressing RAR- should be both safe and effective.

"Thus far, everything seems positive. Clinical trials, however, serve as the gold standard for evaluating a medication candidate's safety, according to Noman.

In order to continue its research, the team has recently licensed GPHR-529 to the business YourChoice Therapeutics. If all goes according to plan, they intend to begin early-stage clinical studies in humans by the second half of the year. In addition, the UMN team is continuing searching for alternative potential possibilities in case GPHR529 doesn't work out as well as to improve on their current approach in order to achieve the same contraceptive effect at a lower dose.

The male conceptive gel NES/T, which reduces sperm and natural testosterone levels while supplementing its own testosterone to lessen negative effects, is nearing completion in other areas. Although further tests will be required before the FDA approves the gel, a bigger size Phase IIb study of the gel is anticipated to be finished in early 2023.