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Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 12, 2024  1 month, 1 week, 2 days, 3 hours, 56 minutes ago

Medical News: Hormone-Free Birth Control Pill For Men Goes Into Clinical Trials!

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Medical News: Hormone-Free Birth Control Pill For Men Goes Into Clinical Trials!
Nikhil Prasad  Fact checked by:Thailand Medical News Team Jan 12, 2024  1 month, 1 week, 2 days, 3 hours, 56 minutes ago
Medical News: In a momentous stride towards reproductive equality, YourChoice Therapeutics, Inc. has embarked on a groundbreaking journey with the initiation of the first-in-human trial for YCT-529, a revolutionary hormone-free male birth control pill. The commencement of the phase one clinical study stands as a beacon of hope, promising a safer, effective, and reversible contraceptive option for men. In this Medical News report, we delve into the critical need for male contraceptive alternatives, the innovative science behind YCT-529, the ongoing clinical trials, and the potential societal impact of a successful hormone-free male birth control pill.

The World's First Male Contraceptive Pill Goes Into Clinical Trials
The Imperative for Male Contraceptive Alternatives
Since the advent of the birth control pill in the 1960s, discussions around contraception have predominantly revolved around women. While women have an array of contraceptive options, including intrauterine devices, hormonal implants, and birth control shots, men are confined to limited choices – condoms or vasectomy. This stark contrast has fueled conversations between couples for decades, highlighting the necessity for an oral contraceptive for men or alternative methods to prevent unintended pregnancies.
YourChoice Therapeutics, a San Francisco-based biotech startup, has taken up the challenge to address this longstanding gap in male contraceptive options. Acknowledging the need for shared responsibility in contraception, the company has launched the development of the first-ever male birth control pill, known as YCT-529.
The Science Behind YCT-529
YCT-529 represents a paradigm shift in male contraception by offering a hormone-free alternative. Developed in collaboration with Professor Gunda Georg from the University of Minnesota, this innovative contraceptive leverages a retinoic acid receptor-alpha (RAR-alpha) inhibitor mechanism. Unlike other male contraceptive candidates that rely on hormonal agents suppressing testosterone, YCT-529 adopts a unique approach by blocking access to vitamin A, a pathway validated through nearly a century of research.
YCT-529 is an inhibitor of retinoic acid receptor-alpha (RAR-alpha). It works by preventing the production of sperm in the testes by hindering access to vitamin A, an established pathway linked to fertility.
It also inhibits the release of sperm cells by hindering RAR-alpha, a nuclear receptor that attaches to retinoic acid, a kind of vitamin A.
According to data from the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded preliminary preclinical research, YCT-529 was demonstrated to be 99% effective and fully reversible without any side effects.
Historical Perspective
The pathway targeted by YCT-529 was first discovered in the 1930s when researchers observed infertility in mice, rats, and monkeys deprived of vitamin A. Subsequent validation in men and nearly 100 published papers have solidified the understandi ng that inhibiting the vitamin A signaling pathway in the testes can lead to reversible infertility.
Professor Gunda Georg, the driving force behind YCT-529's development, remarked on the significance of this approach: "Our preclinical data is strong, showing that YCT-529 was 99% effective in preventing mouse pregnancies and decreasing monkey sperm counts after two weeks of dosing. YCT-529 has also demonstrated a strong safety profile and full reversibility in mice and monkeys once treatment ended."
Clinical Trials and Safety Profile
The phase one clinical trial for YCT-529 is currently underway in the United Kingdom, conducted by Quotient Sciences, a renowned organization specializing in drug development. The trial involves 16 participants, and its primary objectives include evaluating the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of single ascending oral doses of YCT-529.
The hormone-free nature of YCT-529, blocking a protein instead of hormones to prevent sperm production, positions it as a potentially more attractive option for men. Akash Bakshi, CEO of YourChoice Therapeutics, emphasized the importance of providing men with a contraceptive option that aligns with their preferences and views on shared responsibility in pregnancy prevention.
Support and Funding
The Male Contraceptive Initiative (MCI) has played a pivotal role in supporting the development of YCT-529. Heather Vahdat, the Executive Director of MCI, highlighted the significance of the first human study for a hormone-free male birth control pill, referring to it as a "long-awaited milestone and a landmark achievement in the quest for reproductive autonomy." The commitment of MCI and other investors underscores the belief in the potential societal impact of YCT-529.
Maryanna Saenko, Co-founder and Partner at Future Ventures, expressed confidence in YourChoice Therapeutics' position as a pioneer in the field. "YCT-529 represents the first hormone-free therapy, finally enabling men to have an effective birth control option without interfering with their hormones," she stated.
The Future of Male Contraception
The development of male contraceptives has faced challenges, including a funding gap and scientific obstacles. Logan Nickels, the research director of the Male Contraceptive Initiative, acknowledged these challenges but expressed optimism about the changing landscape. He noted a societal shift in the conversation around reproduction, with men showing a growing desire to take an active role in contraception.
While the path to a male contraceptive has been marked by setbacks and the infamous joke that "a male contraceptive has been 10 years away for 50 years," Nickels estimated that a male contraceptive medical device could be on the market within the next five years. However, he acknowledged that a hormone-free pill might still be a decade away, even on an optimistic timeline.
The initiation of clinical trials for YCT-529 marks a pivotal moment in the pursuit of a hormone-free male birth control pill. YourChoice Therapeutics' commitment to providing men with a safe, effective, and reversible contraceptive option challenges traditional gender roles in reproductive health. As the world eagerly awaits the results of the phase one trial, the potential for a paradigm shift in contraception planning and reproductive autonomy looms on the horizon.
The successful development of YCT-529 could not only offer couples more choices in family planning but also empower men to actively contribute to contraception decisions. With ongoing societal changes and a growing acknowledgment of shared responsibility in reproductive health, the arrival of a hormone-free male birth control pill could herald a new era in the quest for gender equality in family planning.
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