Safe Birth Control Pill for Men a Step Closer
Washington: Scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have discovered a way to produce a key enzyme found only in sperm, an advance that may help develop a birth control drug for men that is free of side-effects. “The milestone reached is the production and isolation of a full-length, active kinase enzyme in sufficient quantities to conduct drug screens,” said cell biologist John C Herr of the University of Virginia. Researchers have managed to isolate and manufacture an enzyme that is found exclusively in the testes. The enzyme is found only in spermatids, cells which give rise to sperm. By targeting this enzyme, the researchers hope to inhibit its function as sperm are made, thus decreasing the sperm’s ability to swim, so that fertilisation cannot occur.
While there are several drugs that target kinases to battle diseases such as leukemia, this would be the first time the approach has been used to create a form of birth control, said research scientist Jagathpala Shetty. The research was published in the journal Protein Expression and Purification.