Antibiotics Could Treat Cystic Fibrosis, Other Genetic Diseases
Gentamicin belongs to a class of antibiotics called aminoglycosides, which are used to treat a wide range of bacterial infections. Studies have shown that gentamicin can counteract genetic diseases, including those mentioned above that occur when mutations cause disruptions of the development processes of proteins. The drug enables ribosomes (the structures within a cell that carry out protein synthesis) to ignore these disruptions and instead generate healthy, full-length functional proteins.
But using gentamicin to treat these diseases requires much higher doses than those commonly prescribed for bacterial infections. At these higher doses gentamicin is non-selective and extremely toxic to humans, with irreversible hearing loss (ototoxicity) being the main negative consequence.
In search of a way to bypass these complications, the team led by Professor Timor Baasov of the Technion Faculty of Chemistry modified existing aminoglycoside antibiotic drugs, and carefully monitored biological and toxicity tests of the resulting derivatives. The result is "NB54," a new (and patented) chemical derivative of gentamicin.
"We've created a new purpose for aminoglycosides by removing their traditional, natural actions as antibiotics," said Baasov. "The loss of their antibacterial activity makes them highly selective, less toxic, and allows for their use in repairing 'wrong' genes in human beings."
So far, the researchers have observed the action of NB54 in ex vivo cell lines. They are currently awaiting data from animal model testing.
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is Israel's leading science and technology university. Home to the country's winners of the Nobel Prize in science, it commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine. The majority of the founders and managers of Israel's high-tech companies are alumni. Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel, with offices around the country.
Source: American Technion Society
There are no references listed for this article.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
American Technion Society. "Antibiotics Could Treat Cystic Fibrosis, Other Genetic Diseases." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 8 Apr. 2009. Web.
25 Sep. 2016. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/145506.php>
American Technion Society. (2009, April 8). "Antibiotics Could Treat Cystic Fibrosis, Other Genetic Diseases." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
Contact our news editors
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please see our contact page.
Copyright Medical News Today: Excluding email/sharing services explicitly offered on this website, material published on Medical News Today may not be reproduced, or distributed without the prior written permission of Medilexicon International Ltd. Please contact us for further details.