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Birth Control Pill for Men is 99% Effective

Researchers are working to create the first male contraceptive that isn’t a condom or surgery. A team says they’ve developed a non-hormonal form of male Birth Control. They have kept lab mice sterile for four to six weeks with seemingly no side effects.

Human pill trials are expected to begin by the end of the year. The research is done by the University of Minnesota, which says it works by targeting how our bodies interact with vitamin A, known to be essential to fertility in mammals.

Diets deficient in vitamin A have been linked to sterility, for instance. They found an experimental compound that blocks a protein responsible for binding to a form of vitamin A (retinoic acid) in our cells, known as retinoic acid receptor alpha (RAR-α). RAR-α is one of three proteins with a similar function. They also hope that its selective blocking is enough to induce long-lasting but reversible sterility while causing little to no off-target effects elsewhere. The male Birth Control treatments are closer to fruition in clinical trials already, though it’s been a long and challenging road to get there.

Most of these proposed options work by targeting testosterone, which could come with unwanted side effects like higher cholesterol or lower sex drive. Research team thinks their treatment could skate past these concerns, making it a more appealing option, according to lead researcher Md Abdullah Al Noman, a graduate student in medicinal chemistry at the university.

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