Scientists modify antibiotic to eliminate its side-effect of hearing loss

New York, Jan 3 (IANS): A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation presents a promising new approach to generating a new class of novel, non toxic antibiotics. The researchers reveal a new version of an antibiotics (belonging to the class of antibiotics called aminoglycosides), which could eliminate the side effects associated with the drug - risk of hearing loss and kidney damage.

N1MS -- the modified antibiotic

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Treatment with aminoglycosides, the most commonly used class of antibiotics worldwide, is often a lifesaving necessity. But an estimated 20-60 percent of all patients who receive aminoglycosides, which is also used in treatment of cancer, suffer partial or complete hearing loss.

The newly patented antibiotic, N1MS, which is derived from sisomicin, a type of aminoglycoside, works effectively in mice without the risk of causing deafness or kidney damage, the researchers found. 'Our goal is to replace the existing aminoglycosides with ones that are not toxic,' said co-senior author of the study Anthony Ricci, professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. Read: Is taking antibiotics too often bad for your health? (Disease Query).

The researchers said they hope to test the modified antibiotic in humans as soon as possible. 'If we can eventually prevent people from going deaf from taking these antibiotics, in my mind, we would have been successful,' Ricci said. The study found that N1MS cured urinary tract infection in mice just as well as sisomcicin but did not cause deafness. Unlike the parent compound, N1MS was non toxic to the kidneys too, the results showed. (Read: Decoded how microbes make antibiotics)

'We targeted sites on the drug molecule that were not involved in the antimicrobial activity that kills off infection. This allowed us to reduce toxicity to the ear while retaining antimicrobial action,' Ricci said. (Read: Why you shouldn t consume unnecessary antibiotics)

Source: IANS

Image source: Getty images

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