First male contraceptive injection could be available in Soon
- The gel blocks the tube, meaning sperm cannot be released
- Trials of the gel involving baboons have been promising
- Contraceptive is long-acting and reversible
- Developers Parsemus Foundation say there will be clinical trials next year
- They want it to cost ‘less than a flat screen TV’
Vasagel, pictured, is a ‘polymer hydrogel’ which is injected into the tube which sperm pass through to reach the penis, blocking it rather than cutting it as in a vasectomy
Men could be using long-lasting birth control – which doesn’t involve condoms – within the next three years, according to a not-for-profit organisation.
Trials of a new male birth control injection, Vasalgel, are showing promising results.
Developers hope the new drug will be cheap, reversible and long-lasting.
Vasalgel is a ‘polymer hydrogel’ that is injected into the vas deferens – the tube that sperm passes through on the way to the penis.
The gel acts to block sperm, thus preventing pregnancy.
It is being developed by the Parsemus Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation who develop low-cost medical solutions.
They said the procedure has the same effect as a vasectomy, but is less invasive as surgery is not required because the vas deferens is blocked with the gel, rather than cut.
They hope the new contraceptive will be affordable, adding they want it to cost ‘less than a flat screen TV’.
During current trials on baboons, three males were injected with the Vasalgel contraceptive.
Each baboon was then left living with 10 to 15 female baboons.
After six months, no female baboons became pregnant, although the trial is not quite over.
By the end of the year, the Parsemus Foundation said they will have a lot more information on whether Vasalgel is effective.
They added that if all goes well they will be planning for clinical trials with humans to start next year.
It is also more reversible, they said. If a man wants his sperm unblocked, another polymer gel can be injected to flush out the Vasalgel that is blocking the sperm.
The product is based on another male contraceptive being developed, which is called RISUG.
Both RISUG and Vasalgel work on the principle of using a gel to block the vas deferens, but are formulated differently.
While the Parsemus Foundation have not said how long a Vasalgel injection would last as a contraceptive, a RISUG injection is said to last 10 years.
Men could be using long-lasting and reversible contraceptive Vasalgel within three years if clinical trials go well
A spokesperson from the Parsemus Foundation said: ‘We want to get Vasalgel on the market as soon as possible, but all the proper efficacy and safety testing needs to be completed.
‘Vasalgel is currently in animal testing, with human trials expected to start in early 2015and 2015-2016 (larger trials).
‘If everything goes well and with enough public support, we hope to get Vasalgel on the market in 2016-2017.’
The Parsemus Foundation will be asking for public donations to fund the clinical trials on humans next year.
OTHER MALE CONTRACEPTION IN DEVELOPMENT: THE ‘CLEAN SHEETS’ PILL
Another male contraceptive in early stages of development is the ‘clean sheets’ or ‘dry orgasm’ pill.
This is a drug that could be taken before sex which leads to a semen-free orgasm.
The orgasm feels the same but semen is not released.
Developers intend to design a drug which will take effect within a few hours of being ingested, which will wear off within 24 hours.
A man could take this pill only as needed before having sex.
Researchers said this could also be effective in reducing the transmission of HIV from male to their partners.
Kings College London researchers Dr Nnaemeka Amobi and Dr Christopher Smith are seeking partnership with a pharmaceutical company, which should speed the process of bringing a product to market.