Christina Wang, M.D., lead investigator at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) - one of the leading biomedical research institutes in the country - recently completed a study utilizing a new contraceptive gel that has the potential to be developed as a user controlled chemical birth control agent for males. The gel, which contains testosterone and a synthetic progestin called Nestorone, sharply lowers sperm counts in men with few side effects. The study conducted at LA BioMed and the University of Washington is funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Dr. Wang and her team, along with the team at the University of Washington, enrolled 99 men in a preliminary study of the drug combination. One third of them received a gel containing testosterone and a placebo, which was applied for six months. The remaining two thirds received a gel containing testosterone and one of the two concentrations of Nestorone. Fifty-six men completed at least 20 weeks of the study and adhered to the protocol.
The results of the study were reported at the recent Endocrine Society Meeting & Expo in Houston. Of the men receiving the drug combination, 88 to 89 percent achieved a sperm concentration of less than 1 million sperm per milliliter, while those receiving testosterone and the placebo achieved the same low sperm concentration in 23 percent of men. Depending on the dosage, there was a complete absence of sperm in 78 and 69 percent of the men receiving the drug combination, and in 23 percent of the men receiving testosterone and the placebo.
"Up until now, the responsibility for contraception has traditionally always been with the female," said Dr. Wang. "With these new contraceptive methods for males, the responsibility will be shared. While this gel has great potential and minimal side effects, it does warrant further study as a male contraceptive."
Dr. Wang is a renowned andrologist/endocrinologist and a world leader in efforts to develop a safe, effective and reversible hormonal male contraceptive. In addition to this study, she is also working on a Phase I single dose and multiple dose study that tests the safety and tolerability of a new androgen dimethandrolone undecanoate that is being developed as a potential male contraceptive agent by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
About LA BioMed
Founded in 1952, LA BioMed is one of the country's leading nonprofit independent biomedical research institutes. It has approximately 100 principal researchers conducting studies into improved treatments and cures for cancer, inherited diseases, infectious diseases, illnesses caused by environmental factors and more. It also educates young scientists and provides community services, including prenatal counseling and childhood nutrition programs. LA BioMed is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and located on the campus of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. For more information, please visit www.LABioMed.org