There is a new study, which was published today in PLOS ONE that shows there is a new compound named EP055 to help with creating a “male pill” for contraception without affecting hormones. The compound will bind to sperm proteins and slow the mobility of the sperm.
The lead investigator of this study is Michael O’Rand, Ph.D., retired professor of cell biology and physiology in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine, and president/CEO of Eppin Pharma, Inc. He explains his findings:
“The compound turns-off the sperm’s ability to swim, significantly limiting fertilization capabilities. This makes EP055 an ideal candidate for non-hormonal male contraception.”
Birth Control Options For Men
The only safe forms for birth control available for men are condom and vasectomy, and in some cases, both methods can fail – condoms can break, as for vasectomy, after a few years, it re-attaches, making conception possible again.
As for contraceptive pills in clinical trials, the ones developed so far, affect natural hormones in men, just like the female contraceptives affect women’s hormones.
The research was done on male rhesus macaques and 30 hours after an intravenous infusion of EP055, the researchers found that the sperm motility wasn’t normal, so the compound proved to be successful, without causing physical side effects.
After 18 days, all the macaques that received the infusion recovered and that meant that “EP055 compound is indeed reversible, said Mary Zelinski, Ph.D., research associate professor at the ONPRC at OHSU and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine.
“This is a significant step forward in the development of a non-hormonal pharmacological contraceptive for men,” said O’Rand.
The compound will need to be tested again before the pill is approved for human trials. And before that, they also need to test if EP055 is effective against pregnancy in mating trials on non-human primates.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.