'Male pill' stops sperm growth31st October 2006
Scientists are developing a male contraceptive drug which stops the development process of sperm.
Tests on rats show blocking connections to cells which "nurture" developing sperm makes the animals infertile.
The US and Italian researchers say they used relatively low doses of the molecule and found no obvious side effects, and the effect was reversible.
When sperm are being made in the body in a process called spermatogenesis they sit next to other cells, called Sertoli cells, which nurse and help them grow.
If the connection between these two cell types is broken, infertility can result in men.
In the study authors used a recently developed molecule called Adjudin to dislodge the developing sperm from the Sertoli cells.
However Adjudin is also known to be toxic at high doses.
To get round this, the researchers linked it chemically to a hormone, called FSH, which acts in the testicles where sperm are made.
More research is needed to assess if the same approach could work in humans.
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