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New hormone-free birth control could be used by men and women

Posted at 10:19 PM, Apr 19, 2019
Berkeley New Birth Control
Scientists at UC Berkeley are working on a new birth control method that’s hormone-free and can be taken by men and women. (NBC News)

 

BERKELEY, CA – Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley believe they’ve developed something that could revolutionize birth control: a product that doesn’t use hormones, and could be used by men and women.

“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,” says Nadja Mannowetz, Chief Science Officer at the Your Choice Therapeutics Lab at UC Berkeley.

If sperm cells are unable to reach a woman’s egg they can’t fertilize it. The game-changing plan is to create a pill men can take.

Researchers are repurposing a drug that’s already in wide use around the world to treat tapeworms. “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,” said researcher Akash Bakashi.

Since the drug does not use hormones researchers say the side effects are minimal.