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Antibiotics to Treat Genetic Disorders.


Research carried out at Jerusalem's Shaarei Tzedek hospital among 19 children suffering from cystic fibrosis has shown that a common antibiotic drug can be effective in countering certain genetic diseases.

The Israeli researchers, headed by Dr. Michael Wilschanski and Prof. Eitan Kerem, managed to repair a form of the mutant gene that causes the inherited lung disease cystic fibrosis using Gentamicin, antibiotic nasal drops commonly used for eye infections. The antibiotic has the unusual ability to override a major genetic defect in cystic fibrosis and tweak DNA transcription in cells.

The new findings, Israel21c reported, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and have been hailed by the medical community as a "major breakthrough." Wilschanski and Kerem said that their discovery could serve as a basis for treatments of other genetic disorders, including muscular dystrophy, Hurler's syndrome, and various types of hemophilia and cancer.

Wilschanski, of the Gush Etzion town of Elazar, emigrated from London in 1985 and was recently named the head of the pediatric gastroenterology department at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem. "We're at the beginning, and we have a long way to go. But it's a novel way of looking at genetic disease, and it's also applicable to other diseases as well," said Wilschanski to Israel21c. "It holds hope for this group of patients in a few years time."

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Publication:Israel Faxx
Date:Dec 5, 2003
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