Novel In Vitro Screening Model to Assess Male Contraceptives
Charles Easley of the University of Georgia Research Foundation in the U.S. will develop a human spermatogenesis model system to identify new compounds that reversibly block the maturation of sperm and could be used as male contraceptives. A simple oral male contraceptive would lessen the burden on women to assure effective contraception. Their model involves inducing human pluripotent stem cells to differentiate into mature sperm cells via specific intermediate cell types. They will incorporate other cells found in the testicles, some of which produce testosterone, to more closely mimic the natural environment during which sperm develop. A fluorescent reporter system will be developed to easily monitor cell type and viability so that the model can be used for high-throughput drug screens.