A common antibiotic has now been altered to eliminate hearing loss link
In modern medicine antibiotics are commonly used to treat infections in all levels of severity however certain antibiotics are used in more extreme circumstances where the situation might be life threatening. One of the antibiotics used in this situation is aminoglycosides which is used worldwide to treat infections in their worse forms. However a major issue with the use of aminoglycosides is that an estimated 20%-60% of all patients who are prescribed them suffer minor or complete hearing loss. The issue of these drugs being a necessary evil is now to be an issue of the past with new revelations in a study published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Aminoglycosides have been used for 20 years due to the low cost and practical issues such as the lack of need for refrigeration. The drug is still effective in its use however with the ever growing concern over the potency of antibiotics it has become an issue to prevent any unnecessary side effects. Prevention of side effects has been investigated for decades however there have been numerous issues throughout. Ricci commented with the following “The main problem has been that if you succeeded in stopping the drug from killing hair cells, then you also stopped its antimicrobial effect. The drug just doesn’t work anymore”.
The current study which has been researched by Anthony Ricci, PhD, and Alan Cheng MD, who both joined together at Stanford University School of Medicine, has developed a new form of the drug which eliminates the risk of hearing loss when the drug is used by the patient.
In the study, which lasted 4 years, they produced 5 grams of the new antibiotic which is N1MS. This derivative of aminoglycosides cured kidney issues in the mice and didn’t conclude with hearing loss issues. In the initial stages the team identified that the drug was damaging the non-regenerating hair cells found inside the inner ear. These hair cells are key in absorbing the sound waves which then leads to the acknowledgment of sound. The team then investigated whether the drug would still be effective if they made the drug molecules unable to enter the cells channels, essentially preventing the damage to the hair cells. This concluded as effective and the mice did not display any hearing loss issues after using the drug.
Anthony Ricci commented with the following “If we can eventually prevent people from going deaf from taking these antibiotics, in my mind, we will have been successful. Our goal is to replace the existing aminoglycosides with ones that aren’t toxic”.
 “Hearing loss-linked drug made safer”, Press Association, MailOnline, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/pa/article-2895031/Hearing-loss-linked-drug-safer.html
 “Common Antibiotic Could Eliminate Risk of Hearing Loss”, Stanford University, Drug Discovery & Development, http://www.dddmag.com/news/2015/01/common-antibiotic-could-eliminate-risk-hearing-loss
 “‘Modified’ common antibiotic may beat risk of hearing loss, reveals new study”, DNA, http://www.dnaindia.com/health/report-modified-common-antibiotic-may-beat-risk-of-hearing-loss-reveals-new-study-2049855