Male contraceptive compound stops sperm without affecting hormones

April 20, 2018, University of North Carolina Health Care
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE details how a compound called EP055 binds to sperm proteins to significantly slow the overall mobility of the sperm without affecting hormones, making EP055 a potential "male pill" without side effects.

"Simply put, the compound turns-off the 's ability to swim, significantly limiting fertilization capabilities," said lead investigator Michael O'Rand, PhD, 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. "This makes EP055 an ideal candidate for non-hormonal male contraception."

Currently, condoms and surgical vasectomy are the only safe forms of birth control currently available for men. There are hormonal drugs in clinical trials that target the production of sperm, but these affect the natural hormones in men much like female contraceptives affect hormones in women.

During the study, thirty hours following a high-dose intravenous infusion of EP055 in male rhesus macaques, O'Rand and researchers in the Oregon National Primate Research Center at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, found no indication of normal sperm motility. Further, no physical side effects were observed.

"At 18 days post-infusion, all macaques showed signs of complete recovery, suggesting that the EP055 compound is indeed reversible," said study co-investigator Mary Zelinski, PhD, research associate professor at the ONPRC at OHSU and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

O'Rand and Zelinski indicate that more work is needed before EP055 becomes available for human use. They and their teams have begun to test a pill form of the compound and will eventually conduct a mating trial of EP055's effectiveness against pregnancy.

Explore further: First hormone-free male contraceptive pill soon to be a reality

Related Stories

First hormone-free male contraceptive pill soon to be a reality

March 16, 2018
A hormone-free male contraceptive 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.

Guys, take note: Male birth control pill may be ready soon

September 5, 2012
Attention men: The day may be coming soon when you can take your own birth control pill with no side effects, according to a study done by a group of scientists that includes a Texas A&M University researcher.

Male birth control gel to go into trials

December 22, 2017
A team at the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has announced that it will be putting a contraception gel it has developed into trials starting this April. The trials will involve more than 400 couples ...

Male contraceptive gel in monkeys shows potential as an alternative to vasectomy

February 6, 2017
A contraceptive gel has provided long-term and reliable contraception in male rhesus monkeys, according to research published in the open access journal Basic and Clinical Andrology. The product, called Vasalgel, which was ...

Gene discovery points towards non-hormonal male contraceptive

May 24, 2012
A new type of male contraceptive could be created thanks to the discovery of a key gene essential for sperm development.

Recommended for you

Students more likely to eat school breakfast when given extra time, new study finds

August 18, 2018
Primary school students are more likely to eat a nutritional breakfast when given 10 extra minutes to do so, according to a new study by researchers at Virginia Tech and Georgia Southern University.

Like shark attack and the lottery, unconscious bias influences cancer screening

August 17, 2018
What do shark attack, the lottery and ovarian cancer screening having in common? It turns out our judgments about these things are all influenced by unconscious bias.

Phantom odors: One American in 15 smells odors that aren't there, study finds

August 16, 2018
Imagine the foul smell of an ash tray or burning hair. Now imagine if these kinds of smells were present in your life, but without a source. A new study finds that 1 in 15 Americans (or 6.5 percent) over the age of 40 experiences ...

US drug overdose deaths surge amid fentanyl scourge

August 16, 2018
US drug overdose deaths surged to nearly 72,000 last year, as addicts increasingly turn to extremely powerful synthetic opioid fentanyl as the supply of prescription painkillers has tightened.

Parental life span predicts daughters living to 90 without chronic disease or disability

August 15, 2018
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that women whose mothers lived to at least age 90 were more likely to also live to 90, free of serious diseases and disabilities.

Eating breakfast burns more carbs during exercise and accelerates metabolism for next meal

August 15, 2018
Eating breakfast before exercise may "prime" the body to burn carbohydrates during exercise and more rapidly digest food after working out, University of Bath researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.