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Boston Doctors Develop Hydrogel That Could Cure Ear Infections In One Dose

BOSTON (CBS) - Almost every kid gets an ear infection at some point in their life, and they can be just as painful for their parents who have to give the medication. But as Dr. Mallika Marshall reports, local doctors think they found something that could cure the problem in just one dose.

Middle ear infections are one of the most common ailments in children but getting a kid to take medication can be a real bear.

Dr. Daniel Kohane is a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital. "Families will no longer have to force feed their child antibiotics three times a day for ten days which tends to turn into pro-wrestling pretty quickly," explains Dr. Kohane.

That because Dr. Daniel Kohane and his team have developed a topical treatment that would be applied only once directly to a child's ear in the doctor's office.

The hydrogel consists of antibiotic and chemical enhancers which allow the drug to get through the ear drum and into the middle ear where the bacteria lurk.

Hydrogel developed to treat ear infections (WBZ-TV)

"The drug doesn't have to go throughout the body which means you don't get a lot of the side effects like diarrhea and also you don't get the level of resistant bacteria," says Dr. Kohane.

Easier for kids to take, fewer side effects and less antibiotic resistance. But does it work? At least in animal models it does.

"What we have shown to date is that our treatment is safe, and it is effective in 100% of cases that we have tested so far," says Dr. Kohane.

The gel still needs to be tested on humans but Dr. Kohane is optimistic.

"It would be really wonderful as a scientist and a pediatrician and as a father to be able to make an impact on this disease which is so burdensome to so many families," he says.

Dr. Kohane hopes that the gel will become commercially available within the next several years.


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