BERKELEY, Calif. (NBC) – At the Your Choice Therapeutics lab at US Berkeley, scientist Nadja Mannowetz showed what their compound does to active sperm cells. In one sample, you can see untreated cells. In another, sperm cells after their treatment.
Mannowetz explained, “Drugging sperm cells with our small molecule results in sperm cells that are really deprived in energy. So they cannot swim from point A to B.” If sperm cells can’t reach a woman’s egg, they can’t fertilize it.
The plan is to create a pill that men can take—a game changer.
One UC Berkeley student said, “I think it’s interesting that we’re finally putting the weight on men to control their responsibility.”
Another student said, “If it didn’t have a lot of negative side effects to it, I’d consider it”
Since this drug does not use hormones, researchers say the side effects are minimal.
They’re repurposing a drug that’s already in wide use around the world to treat tapeworms.
Researcher Akash Bakashi said, “It prevents tapeworms from being able to reproduce. So, it zaps them of their energy to reproduce. And we’re doing exactly the same thing, just with human sperm. ”
But before they make a pill they plan on creating a hormone-free product that woman can buy over the counter.
Their hope is to have a spermicidal gel available for sale by 2025.