New cancer drug could be male contraceptive

Hannah Blake

pharmaphorum

American scientists believe they have made a breakthrough, after discovering a drug that can block sperm production whilst conducting research to find a cure for cancer. They believe this ‘pill’ could be used as a contraceptive.

Although the compound, called JQ1, was not effective at treating cancer cells, scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, discovered that JQ1 can penetrate the blood-testis boundary to disrupt spermatogenesis, which is the process where sperm develops to become mature sperm. The result is a decrease in the number and quality of sperm.

“Our findings demonstrate that, when given to rodents, this compound produces a rapid and reversible decrease in sperm count and mobility with profound effects on fertility. While we will be conducting more research to see if we can build on our current findings, JQ1 shows initial promise as a lead compound for male contraception.”

James Bradner, from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Baylor College of Medicine, comments on the findings in a recent statement.

While this research was carried out on mice, it is believed to be fairly easy to test this approach on humans, although it is likely to be a long-time before male contraceptives are available on the high street.

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Related news:

Male contraceptive pill ‘step closer’ after mice studies (BBC News)

Pill developed to cure cancer could be male contraceptive (The Telegraph)

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