Manchester to lead development of UK’s first rapid genetic test

Manchester is leading the development of a new genetic test that could identify the risk of, and therefore help to avoid, permanent antibiotic-related hearing loss in newborn babies.

Some babies can develop irreversible hearing loss when exposed to gentamicin – a commonly used antibiotic – due to an identified genetic predisposition. Antibiotic treatment should to be started within the first hour after admission, but currently there are no suitable tests to identify those at risk of hearing loss within this timeframe. It’s hoped that the new test could allow genetic results to be available within an hour, and be performed at the patient’s bedside.

Professor Bill Newman will lead the consortium, which will work closely with parents of children previously treated on intensive care units.

We look forward to working with our colleagues in Manchester and Liverpool to assess the impact of rapid genetic testing as a method of avoiding irreversible hearing loss in babies treated with antibiotics. Successful implementation would be a first in the integration of a rapid decision making, genetic-based diagnostic in the UK NHS.
Professor Bill Newman

Further detailare available from a news article on the Manchester Biomedical Research Centre website.