First hormone-free male pill soon to be a reality

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A HORMONE-FREE male pill may soon become a reality, with Monash scientists moving closer to developing a new combination of oral contraceptive drugs that together block the transport of sperm during ejaculation.

A hormone-free pill would have the unique ability to bypass the side-effects that have up until now hindered development of a male contraceptive. Such sideeffects
are often caused from interfering with male hormones including long-term irreversible
effects on fertility, birth defects in future offspring and libido.

The team of scientists have previously shown that male infertility could be genetically achieved by simultaneously deleting two proteins that trigger the transport of sperm – α1A-adrenoceptor and P2X1-purinoceptor – but without affecting the long-term viability
of sperm or sexual and general health. The sperm is effectively there but the muscle is just not receiving the chemical message to move it.

There is already a widely-available drug approved for long-term use that targets one of the two proteins successfully, but the researchers are now looking to develop an oral contraceptive drug to block the second protein.

New funding from the Male Contraceptive Initiative has allowed researchers from the
Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS) to move into this next phase of drug development but the team is still relying on further funding to fast-track the process.

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