Friday, November 12, 2004

Monkey's immune system aids scientists to design a new type of male contraceptive.

They report that they injected nine male macaque monkeys with Eppin, a protein from the testes. Seven became infertile, and of these five became fertile again when the treatment stopped.

Researchers have been experimenting for years to find reliable male hormonal contraceptives. Some are in clinical trials. But so far the only reliable male choice has been the condom, or vasectomy, reports Guardian.

According to The State, male monkeys that developed a strong immune response to the eppin were still able to copulate but could not impregnate females, the researchers said.

"We don-t understand the exact mechanism yet, but we think the immunocontraception works by preventing the sperm from freeing itself from the seminal fluid to make its way to the uterus and oviducts to fertilize the egg," O-Rand said.

In the experiments, carried out in India, seven of the nine males developed high antibody levels. Five of the seven recovered fertility once the immunization ended.

Story here.

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