Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A birth-control pill for men?

A posed photo of a man popping pills into his mouth. Contraceptives for men could be developed soon, according to scientists at Columbia University -- ST PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: WANG HUI FEN

CONTRACEPTIVE pills for men could be developed soon, Daily Mail reported on Tuesday.

Scientists at Columbia University in New York claimed that they have developed 'a drug which temporarily stops sperm production without causing any long-term harm to male fertility.'

Scientists have been trying to come up with a male equivalent of the pill for years, but have not yet succeeded. The new pill impairs the male body's ability to use vitamin A, which is vital for the production of sperm.

It has so far only been tested on mice. But scientists hope to carry out long-term studies on humans within a few years, the report said. Most similar drugs recently developed are jabs, not pills, and many contain steroids. But this one does not contain steroids and has not been shown to have any side-effects.

'We have seen no side-effects so far, and our mice have been mating quite happily,' Debra Wolgemuth, head of the research team at the university's medical centre, said.

So far it has only been tested on mice, but scientists hope to carry out long-term studies on humans within a few years. The drug is still in the early stages of development, but a finished product would probably be taken once a day, they said. -- KOREA HERALD/ANN

No comments: