When scientist began testing the JQ1 compound, they hoped that it would be effective in cancer therapies by causing tumor cells to reboot, and halt their harmful effects on the body. Unfortunately, the drug doesn't appear to work against cancer in the way that researchers had thought it would. However, JQ1 may end up being an extremely important discovery after all: It turns out that although it can't fight cancer, it does fight sperm production, making it a potential key to the production of the first male birth control pill.
Administering the compound to male mice caused each test subject's sperm production to drop dramatically. The sperm that were still being created were of poor quality, rendering the animals infertile. Most importantly, once testing of the compound ceased, sperm production returned to normal, showing that the effects of the pill are 100% reversible.
While the results may be promising, clinical trials are still needed in order to prove the drug's effectiveness against human sperm. The compound still needs to be tweaked in order for it to become a candidate for oral administration, but so far the outlook is good.
Of course, this isn't the first time a drug has been found to be ineffective for its promised purpose, and then discovered to be a suitable solution to a different medical condition. Sildenafil — known more commonly by the trade name Viagra — was first tested in treating symptoms of heart disease. The clinical trials showed that while Sildenafil's effectiveness against heart disease was minimal, the men who tested it were affected in an entirely different way.
More from Tecca: