In a major development, researchers from the University of Dundee have gotten closer to developing a male contraceptive pill after receiving a funding boost of £1.2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The university has been one of the many institutions looking into the idea of developing the first safe and effective male contraceptive drug. However, no progress has been made for many years now.
Recent efforts have been slowed down due to poor understanding of human sperm biology and the lack of studies that convincingly show the key functions that sperm must carry out after leaving the male.
Earlier, the team also developed a miniaturised parallel testing system that uses a fast microscope and image-processing tools, which is expected to monitor the very fast movement of sperm in a more precise way.
Professor of Reproductive Medicine in Dundee University’s School of Medicine, Chris Barratt, who has been excited about this funding, shared on the University’s website, “There has been no significant change in the field of male contraception since the development of the condom. This means that much of the burden of protecting against unwanted pregnancies continues to fall upon women. We hope to address that inequality and we have already made progress, thanks to our previous round of funding received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”
He further said: “Dundee is uniquely placed to continue with this research, combining our internationally recognised expertise in male fertility research within our School of Medicine, with our knowledge in drug design based within our School of Life Sciences. By the end of this two-year period, we would like to have identified a high-quality compound that we can progress to the first stages of drug development. That would be a significant step forward for the field and could potentially be the key that unlocks a new era in male contraception.”
The financial boost is expected to help the researchers continue many more trials and male contraceptive pills may be available soon.
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