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Male contraceptive gel effective in monkeys, but will it work in humans?

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Contraceptives for men involve one of two options: condoms or a vasectomy

An injection that block sperm from leaving the body has proved effective in monkeys

CNN —  

When it comes to contraception, there are no long-lasting, easily reversible options for men. The only choices are condoms or a vasectomy.

And it’s been this way for more than a century.

But a new injectable gel that blocks sperm inside the body, preventing them from leaving while allowing seminal fluid to pass through, has proved effective in trials using monkeys. The researchers behind the product, known as Vasalgel, hope it could get trials in humans within a few years.

“What was important here was that this worked and was safe in animals similar to humans,” said Elaine Lissner, executive director of the Parsemus Foundation, the medical research organization behind Vasalgel that is also leading the trials.

A new study, published Tuesday, involved 16 male monkeys receiving injections of Vasalgel who were released into social outdoor housing with females. Any adverse effects, as well as their ability to impregnate females, was compared with a historical sample of monkeys that had received vasectomies.

“It was a simple efficacy study,” Lissner said, meaning the researchers merely set out to see whether the gel was safe and worked to prevent pregnancy.