A new research has revealed that a male contraceptive pill could be developed within 10 years.
Men have very few contraceptive options such as condoms or permanent surgical vasectomy. In a new study, scientists from Australia's Monash University have found that complete male infertility could be achieved by blocking two proteins that are involved in the transportation of sperm during ejaculation.
Using mouse models, a team of scientists led by Dr Sab Ventura and Dr Carl White of the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences carried out their research. They found that the absence of two proteins on the smooth muscle cells - α1A-adrenoceptor and P2X1-purinoceptor - could achieve infertility without having any effects on sexual behaviour.
They believe that this information could be used to develop an oral contraceptive pill for men. "Previous strategies have focused on hormonal targets or mechanisms that produce dysfunctional sperm incapable of fertilization, but they often interfere with male sexual activity and cause long term irreversible effects on fertility," Dr Ventura said in a statement.
"We've shown that simultaneously disrupting the two proteins that control the transport of sperm during ejaculation causes complete male infertility, but without affecting the long-term viability of sperm or the sexual or general health of males. The sperm is effectively there but the muscle is just not receiving the chemical message to move it," he added.
According to the researcher, since this approach does not affect the development of sperm, a drug that is developed to block the two proteins should not have side effects on the male if he stops taking the pill, reported ABC.
Ventura also said there is already a drug that blocks one of the two proteins. They have to develop one more drug that would block the other protein. If they are successful, they could develop a contraceptive pill for men in within a decade.
The findings of the study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA.