Male contraceptive pill step closer to reality
THE quest for a male contraceptive pill is back in business thanks to new funding for a team of Aussie scientists who are on the cusp of developing a drug that blocks the transport of sperm.
Scientists claim the hormone-free pill is set to bypass side-effects such as infertility, birth defects and libido.
Dr Sab Ventura from Mo- nash University’s Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences says the drug may actually increase male libido.
If the next stage of drug development is successful, trials could commence and a male pill could be on the market within 5-10 years.
Previous attempts to develop a male contraceptive have focused on hormonal targets or on making sperm incapable of fertilisation. methods interfered with male sexual activity and there was a risk of long-term irreversible effects on fertility.
Monash University researchers are instead looking at using chemicals to switch off the brain signal that causes sperm to be released from the body. The sperm is there but the muscle is not receiving the chemical message to move it.
Dr Ventura says the $US150,000 grant from the Male Contraceptive Initiative in the US will allow him to employ a chemist to work on other chemicals.
“Mice had normal sexual behaviour and the type of drugs we’re looking at may improve sexual function in men because they dilate blood vessels and that is what Viagra does,” he says.
The US consortium has also provided grants to several other alternative male contraception projects.
One of these uses an injection of a hydrogel to block the movement of sperm.
Dr Ventura says he thinks men will want to take control of their own fertility.
DR VENTURA SAYS HE THINKS MEN WILL WANT TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR OWN FERTILITY.