Researchers in the UK have initiated trials for a revolutionary non-hormonal male contraceptive pill, marking a significant step toward equitable contraception responsibility. Quotient Sciences, a Nottingham-based drug development company, launched the phase I trial of their male birth control pill, YCT-529, involving 16 British men, as reported by Sky News.
In contrast to female contraceptives, YCT-529 is hormone-free and impedes sperm production by blocking vitamin A access. Historical studies spanning over 90 years have demonstrated that depriving mice, rats, and monkeys of vitamin A can induce infertility.
This breakthrough aims to empower men in preventing unplanned pregnancies, challenging the historical burden placed predominantly on women for contraception. Currently, male contraceptive options are limited to withdrawal, condoms, and vasectomy, while women have a broader range of choices, including the pill, coil, contraceptive injection, and female condoms or diaphragms.
Pre-clinical investigations have revealed that YCT-529, developed by YourChoice Therapeutics based in San Francisco, boasts a remarkable “99% effectiveness and 100% reversibility with no side effects,” as stated by experts.
”YCT-529 works by blocking a protein, not hormones, to halt sperm production. We anticipate this approach will resonate with men, many of whom consider pregnancy prevention a shared responsibility, despite the limited contraceptive options available today, most of which are either permanent or only moderately effective.
The current lack of diverse options perpetuates the age-old notion that preventing pregnancy is solely a woman’s responsibility. This perception is outdated, and our commitment is to advance the first hormone-free birth control pill for men—something effective, convenient, and temporary,” stated Akash Bakshi, co-founder and CEO of YourChoice Therapeutics.
Gunda Georg, regents professor at the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy, the mind behind the pill’s development, expressed to The Independent, ”The last breakthrough in contraception was the birth control pill for women, over 60 years ago. The world is ready for a male contraceptive, and delivering one that’s hormone-free is the ethical choice, given the enduring side effects women have faced from the pill for decades.”
”We deliberately targeted the vitamin A signaling pathway in the testis, backed by nearly a century of research validating this pathway and demonstrating the ease of reversing infertility,” she added.
According to Forbes, this clinical trial is anticipated to conclude in June 2024.