Whoa! A new form of Male Birth Control?

No, I’m not talking about vasectomies nor condoms.  Via The Mary Sue:

Long-term and inexpensive male birth control has been scientifically feasible since Indian doctor Sujoy Guha first began clinical trials 15 years ago. Not surprisingly, though, slowing sperms’ roll hasn’t had the profit potential to interest pharmaceutical companies; why sell one long-lasting and relatively cheap contraceptive to men when the industry can make its nut pushing pills on men’s partners every month instead? But thanks to the non-profit Parsemus Foundation, the birth control field might be on the cusp of becoming far more egalitarian–starting as soon as 2017, a reversible and non-hormonal male contraceptive may soon be on the shelves of a pharmacy near you.

Here’s the press release from the Parsemus Foundation:

Three baboon subjects from the original study have now had Vasalgel for 6 months. (Want to know why we had to do a second round? Read all about it here.) To make sure that it is still working prior to reversal, we decided to give all of the males an opportunity to mate with females to ensure that no pregnancies occur. Each of the three male baboons was moved into enclosures with 10-15 females (yes, that’s 10-15 each!) a month ago. And the good news? So far no pregnancies. But they will remain with the females for at least a few more weeks just to be sure. We are planning to flush out the Vasalgel – to attempt to reverse it, like was done in the rabbit study – early next month. Then we will check to see whether sperm start to flow once again.

The newer baboon study has also just started. After a health check, five males got Vasalgel last week. Three more are planned. The baboons will rest for a bit while we monitor them closely, then will be moved to breeding enclosures with fertile females. Half of the baboons will be able to mate with females for three months, and half of them will be with females for six months. After this, they will all undergo reversal and additional testing.

By the time the year ends, we will have a lot more information on the efficacy of Vasalgel – and, if all goes well, will be planning for clinical trials with humans to start next year.
Left: Female baboon in estrus. Photo courtesy Nature.com. Right: Pregnant female baboon. Photo courtesy michael-lawrence-wilson.com
Whoa! A new form of Male Birth Control?
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