Patients and General Interest in Phage Therapy

Introduction


A lytic bacteriophage, or “phage”, is a virus that will infect a bacterium and reproduce, or ‘replicate’, inside it, in the process taking over the host bacterium’s protein making machinery and energy-generating processes to produce dozens or hundreds of new phages before breaking open the cell to release them. For each type of bacteria on earth there are specific phages that will target those bacteria and replicate in them, soon releasing hundreds of progeny that will spread further into zones of infection. For phage therapy, the kinds of phages used are ones which always quickly kill the bacteria they infect. See “How Phage Work link” for details. Use of phages as highly targeted, narrow spectrum antimicrobials is gaining a great deal of attention in light of problems related to increasing antibiotic resistance. Also, we are increasingly aware of the harms caused by antibiotics, and those harms need to be carefully weighed against potential benefits for every antibiotic prescription. Phage therapy has the potential to help with reducing antibiotic resistance. Due to the narrow spectrum of bacteria killed, phage do not significantly disturb the microbiome. Indeed, phage are being increasingly studied for healing gut dysbiosis disorders. Phage and bacteria have engaged in a complex dance since the early days of life on Earth, sometimes killing each other, sometimes helping each other to survive and to respond to stress. The application of antibiotics is a prime example of a stress on bacteria which activates phage to help the bacteria to survive and gain resistance to the antibiotic attack. New regulatory approaches are being developed which are more in tune with the complex ecology of phage/bacterial communities and co-evolution. The technology to pick the right combination of phages for the particular patient and infection is rapidly evolving, and this paradigm of working with nature will bring a revolutionary change to treating infectious disease. Use our database to explore your interests and conditions of concern to you! We also have links and information about how you may be able to access cutting-edge phage therapy both in your country and around the world. (See Phage Therapy Centers)