Women have usually had to take the brunt of responsibility when it comes to birth control options. The ‘male pill’ has been an elusive product that researchers have been working on producing for many years now. A new hormone-free drug has been tested on mice that might have the ability to lower sperm production without destroying the possibility for sexual activity.
The BBC reports that a new British study, published in the academic journal Cell, has been tested on mice. The experiment involved introducing a drug called JQ1 to a group of rodents over an 18-month period.
Researchers noticed that the testes of the mice began to shrink as they produced fewer sperm. Researchers even noted that most of the mice were rendered completely infertile while they continued all of their normal sexual activities. When scientists stopped injecting the drug into the population of mice, their fertility returned once again.
Although the new findings are exciting and might lead to a new reversible form of male contraception, the compound has yet to be tested on humans. The drug called JQ1 works by targeting a protein called BRDT that is vital for fertility in the testes of mice. That same protein actually exists in human reproductive systems as well. Dr. James Bradner told Philly.com about how this new drug could also function in suppressing this essential protein for fertility:
Humans do indeed have the BRDT gene, and human genetics suggests a similar role for BRDT in sperm production… We therefore tested activity against the human BRDT protein and found that JQ1 is a highly potent inhibitor of human BRDT.
If this new drug ever makes it to human test subjects, it could offer a very exciting hormone-free option for men. Currently, any form of hormonal contraception for the male population can upset their sex drive by depleting testosterone levels, which must then be replaced with a supplement.
It should be noted that hormonal birth controls for women also tend to destroy physical balance, and has been shown to produce various side effects. Back in 2010, researchers found that women’s sex drive was often seriously derailed while taking birth control.
This newest lead on birth control options might ease some of the contraceptive burden currently placed on women and provide a hormone-free option for male partners, but it has a long way to go before it makes to the pharmacy counter.
Photo Credit: MindZiper