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09 August, 2022
 
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Male birth control pill in the works

A contraceptive pill for men has been developed by a team of scientists from the University of Minnesota

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

A contraceptive pill for men has been developed by a team of scientists from the University of Minnesota. According to the researchers, the drug was 99% effective in mice, with no side effects. Clinical trials in humans may begin in the coming months. Scientific achievement is an important step in the search for family planning alternatives so that both sexes shoulder the responsibility.

Abdullah al-Noman, a university graduate student who presented the study at the American Society of Chemistry's annual conference, said the search for a male contraceptive pill began after the female was approved in the 1960s, largely because research suggested that males wanted to share the responsibilities of family planning with their partners.  To create the male pill, scientists in Professor Gouda Georg's team focused on a protein, the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) alpha.

In the human body, vitamin A is transformed into various forms, including retinoic acid, which plays an important role in cell growth, sperm formation and fetal development. For these functions, the retinoic acid must bind to the alpha receptor (RAR) alpha. Experiments performed on mice showed that animals that did not have such receptors were sterile. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have developed a chemical compound that temporarily inhibits the function of the receptor, YCT529. It is designed to act only on the alpha receptor (RAR) alpha and not on others like it in order to minimize the chances of side effects.

When YCT529 was administered orally to mice for four weeks, it significantly reduced their sperm count and was 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Males were able to acquire mice about six weeks after discontinuation.

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