Robotic search for drugs that block sperm motility

Robotic search for drugs that block sperm motility

The hunt for the first male contraceptive pill is on, and scientists at Dundee University may have the needed tool to find it – a robotic screening system . A team of researchers at Dundee University in Scotland may have the solution in producing the first-ever male contraceptive pill, and they’re a step closer to achieving it. The team has built the first automated robotic sperm-testing system, which helps scientists test the efficacy of a chemical compound on semen and how it affects the sperm. Published in the online journal eLife , the study highlights how the new robotic system can test previously approved and clinically tested drugs to find a safe and effective male contraceptive. Platform overview Finding effective drugs The team aims to provide potential effective agents that can stop the sperm in its tracks. They believe that with further research and work, they can find a suitable long-term drug that can be used as a male birth control pill component. For years, female contraceptive pills have been used widely across the globe. However, there is still no suitable pill for male contraception. There is an urgent need to develop new methods for male contraception, with vasectomy and condom use as only the common options existing for men. There are many reasons why efforts to produce the first male pill have been hampered, including poor understanding of the human sperm, lacking studies linking a protein target in human sperm to the key functions that sperm perform after leaving the male, and lastly, an absence of an effective system to filter the effects of the chemicals and drugs that are available. Miniature parallel testing system To help researchers test the drugs to find which ones are effective mas male contraceptive pills, the team developed a miniature parallel testing system run by a robot. The machine uses a fast microscope and image-processing tools to accurately see and track the fast movements of human sperm, allowing the team to precisely measure the effects of the drugs on sperm. Related Stories



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