14 Feb Cornell Scientists Make Progress Toward Male Contraception
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Melanie Balbach PhD
Postdoctoral Associate in Pharmacology
Weill Cornell Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: For men, the only two options for birth control currently available are condoms and vasectomy. Additional contraceptive methods are required to more equally distribute the burden of contraception between men and women.
We aim to develop an on-demand contraceptive pill for men where sperm motility and thereby fertility is only blocked for multiple hours. The idea is that men take our contraceptive shortly before intercourse and regain fertility about 24 hours later.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Soluble adenylate cyclase (sAC) is an enzyme that converts ATP to cAMP. cAMP and thereby sAC are crucial for sperm motility and the maturation process sperm undergo in the female genital tract to gain fertilization competence. sAC is like the “on-switch” of sperm and is activated once sperm are ejaculated, male mice that lack sAC are immotile and infertile. Since sAC is so crucial for sperm function and fertility we chose it as our contraceptive target. With this study we provide the proof-of-principle in mice that on-demand, reversible male contraception via inhibition of sAC is possible. When injecting male mice with sAC inhibitor sperm were immotile 30 min later and for the following 2 hours the males remained infertile. 24 hours later the males regained fertility.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a results of this study?
Response: As next steps we will test our inhibitors in a second animal model and will further refine our preclinical drug candidates for first clinical trials in humans.
Balbach, M., Rossetti, T., Ferreira, J. et al. On-demand male contraception via acute inhibition of soluble adenylyl cyclase. Nat Commun 14, 637 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-36119-6
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