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Male contraceptive gel succeds in monkey trials

PBR Staff Writer Published 09 February 2017

A new type of male contraceptive polymer hydrogel which works by blocking sperm in the vas deferens has been successful in monkey trials.

US-based Parsemus Foundation through a non-profit social venture subsidiary is developing the Vasalgel, which is injected into the duct that transports sperm from the testicle to the urethra. This, in turn creates a blockage to the sperm from being released.

As per its maker, Vasalgel is a high molecular weight polymer which has styrene-alt-maleic acid (SMA) dissolved in dimethyl sulfoxide. It is claimed to be the first long-acting, non-hormonal male contraceptive to hit the market with also a potential to be reversed.

A report of the trial published in the Basic and Clinical Andrology journal said that the intravas injection of Vasalgel in adult male rhesus monkeys that were sexually mature was successful in stopping conception in a natural, group environment. Complications of the trial were reported to be less and almost same to those related with conventional vasectomy.

Further, the report stated that the participating monkeys had returned to their group in no time, with almost no disruption to the social fabric of the group. Their natural behaviors including mating were not found to be hindered after the trial.

Lead veterinarian on the project, Angela Colagross-Schouten said: “While vasectomy is a quick and relatively simple procedure in humans, in monkeys there can be additional complications, as it is inherently more complex. We were impressed that this alternative worked in every single monkey, even though this was our first time trying it.

“Vasectomies are a routine procedure for nonhuman primate veterinarians, so to have similar or even slightly better outcomes trying a brand-new procedure is very encouraging.”

Parsemus Foundation is looking to hold its first clinical trial in humans having gathered proof of efficacy of Vasalgel in monkeys as well as rabbits.