Nonhormonal male birth control pill shows promise in early trials

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A first-of-its-kind hormone-free birth control pill for men shows promise in a clinical trial. Here’s news about YCT-529, a drug you may hear more about as it progresses….

The need for new male contraceptive options

The ability to decide when (and whether) to have children has always been important to families. Five years after the female birth control pill came on the market in 1960, 40% of young women chose to use it. Since that time, the burden of birth control has largely fallen on women. Men have had more limited options: either vasectomy or condoms.

To expand male birth control options, the Parsemus Foundation developed Vasalgel. This non-hormonal, long-acting contraceptive technology is now part of Plan A, being developed by NEXT Life Sciences. Additionally, several other non-hormonal male options are being tested in men. YCT-529 is an interesting new one.

Male birth control blocks retinoic acid

YourChoice Therapeutics, developer of YCT-529, presented data on this new drug at the American Chemical Society Spring 2024 meeting. YCT-529 works by blocking a form of vitamin A called retinoic acid in the testes. This prevents sperm production without affecting testosterone levels.

YCT-529 is the result of two decades of research led by its developer Dr. Gunda Georg, a medicinal chemist at the University of Minnesota’s College of Pharmacy and founding director of the Institutes for Therapeutics Discovery and Development. Studies in mice have shown that YCT-529 is effective in preventing pregnancy and that its effects are reversible.

Dr. Georg reported that a Phase 1a clinical trial was launched in December 2023 to assess the safety and tolerability of the drug in humans. The study investigates the safety, tolerability, and physiological effects of single oral doses of YCT-529 in 16 participants. The study is progressing well and is expected to conclude in mid-2024.

The Male Contraceptive Initiative has helped to fund the early research and YCT-529’s Phase 1a clinical trial in men. The study is being conducted at Quotient Sciences in the UK. If successful, YCT-529 could be a game-changer for contraception. It could provide men with a non-hormonal and reversible contraception option.

Of course, there are still some unknowns. The Phase 1a trial is only designed to assess safety and tolerability. More studies will be needed to determine the efficacy of YCT-529 in preventing pregnancy. But the early results are promising.

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