Houston Matters

Baylor Researchers Hunt for Safe, Male Contraceptive Drug

Imagine a colorful cupcake sprinkle in a long glass jar full of thousands of other sprinkles. Which one can you pick that has the right binding properties to stick to the new cupcake icing you’ve created? Researcher Dr. Martin Matzuk has been thinking about that scenario that for years, or really, he’s been imagining the […]

Imagine a colorful cupcake sprinkle in a long glass jar full of thousands of other sprinkles. Which one can you pick that has the right binding properties to stick to the new cupcake icing you’ve created? Researcher Dr. Martin Matzuk has been thinking about that scenario that for years, or really, he’s been imagining the real-life problem of finding the right molecule to bind to sperm. (The cupcake sprinkles were just to help you get a visual, you see?)

Matzuk is the director for The Center for Drug Discovery at Baylor College of Medicine, and he’s been working over 20 years on human reproduction, including male contraceptives. Three years ago he and his colleagues published a paper introducing this molecule idea, which seems a lot better than a testosterone-based drug everyone else was trying.

Now, three years later, Matzuk published a review in Science of studies a partner lab is developing from the molecule idea. And before he left the country to work alongside these colleagues in Japan, Dr. Matzuk sat down with Paige Phelps to talk about just how long it will be before we see this male pill and what it might actually look like.

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