A non-hormonal birth control method for men has just proven its efficacy in rabbits, and might be commercialized as soon as 2018. The results of a preclinical trial were published two days ago by Basic and Clinical Andrology.
Named Vasalgel, the contraceptive was created by Parsemus Foundation and is a polymer of high molecular weight. By injecting it into the vas deferens, the long-acting non-hormonal birth control substance forms a gel that simply blocks sperm. Furthermore, it could even be reversible.
The current options for contraception for men mainly consist of vasectomy and condoms. Since vasectomy has permanent results, and condom usage might let unwanted pregnancies slip by, the time has come for a more effective method of the 21st century. This is where Vasalgel might become the best reversible contraceptive for long terms.
Vasalgel is composed of SMA (styrene-alt-maleic acid) which is dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide. The recent study of the substance involved numerous rabbits which were tested in order to prove the functionality of the birth control method. Two formulations of Vasalgel were taken into consideration: one made of one hundred percent SMA acid and one containing only eighty percent SMA acid and twenty percent SMA anhydride.
The scientists injected twelve rabbits with the gel, and the subsequent analysis revealed that eleven of them have become azoospermic, basically not having any functional sperm at all in their semen. Both versions of Vasalgel proved equally effective. Additionally, the effect seems to last for at least twelve months, the period of the test.
According to the lead author of the study and professor of toxicology and pharmacology at the University of Illinois, Chicago Dr. Donald Waller,
“Results from our study in rabbits were even better than expected. Vasalgel produces a very rapid contraceptive effect which lasted throughout the study due to its unique hydrogel properties. These features are important considerations for a contraceptive product to be used in humans.”
The contraceptive’s characteristics are probably the ones that achieved its success when other implants with the same purpose have failed. In more detail, after it is injected, Vasalgel creates a hydrogel. The implant stays as a gell-like barrier that can easily mold after the vasa deferentia walls. In this way, the gel permits the passing of water-soluble molecules, but not larger ones like spermatozoa.
In this positive light of advancement, the first clinical test for men is scheduled to begin at the end of this year.
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