The University of Kansas An Official Employee Publication From the Office of University Relations



July 18, 2005
Vol. 29, No. 18

New KU logo selected
Jazz critic has new gig
Spring calendar adjusted by 1 day
Enrollment center changes name
Tuition below national average
Public health programs get grants
Researchers work on 'male pill'
Payroll deduction for fitness center

Summer Dole series announced
KU seeks links to Asia
2006 state holidays
UPSA now Unclassified Senate

New Senex members named
Classifieds officially switch, get raises

Employees of month recognized
CTE announces summer summit theme
Quiz: Hay-worth or Hah-worth?

KU flag to accompany troops
Lindley Annex comes down

Old KU: Ice cream wagon



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Researchers win $8M grant for ‘male pill’

Researchers at KU and KU Medical Center have won an almost $8 million National Institutes of Health contract to find chemical compounds to develop into reversible male contraceptives that do not rely on steroids or affect bodily hormones.

The five-year contract will allow scientists from the two campuses to continue research and testing started in partnership with the NIH four years ago that has led to the development of promising chemical compounds.

The KU team is one of only a few research groups in the world working to develop male contraceptives.

“The NIH awarded this research contract to us because of the interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of our team, as well as the technology and laboratories KU and KUMC have for testing,” said Gunda Georg, lead researcher on the project.
Georg is also director of the Center for Drug Discovery at the Higuchi Biosciences Center on the Lawrence campus.

The other primary members of the team are Joseph Tash, associate professor of molecular and integrative physiology at KUMC; Qi-Zhuang Ye, research professor at the Higuchi Biosciences Center; and Ernst Schonbrunn, assistant professor of medicinal chemistry.

In its work under the previous NIH contract, the KU team identified a chemical compound they named Gamendazole that caused temporary infertility in male rats by affecting sperm production, Georg said.

Gamendazole, on which KU has filed a patent application, emerged from more than 100 compounds tested.
“The KU team has identified a dose of Gamendazole that caused 75 percent of the rats to lose fertility in week three after taking the compound and 100 percent of the rats to become completely infertile in week four and five,” Georg said. “Partial fertility begins to return to the rats in week six.”

The group also focused on finding novel inhibitors of key enzymes that have an important role in either sperm development or motility, Georg said

Finding chemical compounds to temporarily deactivate the enzymes so that the sperm do not fully develop or cannot move to cause pregnancy is the key objective of the research.

“ We need to find compounds that are potent, selective and can be developed to be taken orally,” Tash said. “We do not want a compound to affect other enzymes in the body. We want to specifically target the right enzyme and nothing else.”

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