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Author Topic: How are bacteriophages used as antibiotics, to kill bacteria?  (Read 69297 times)

Offline phdkso

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Hello Phage Fans:

In recent weeks I have been talking to groups of scientists and journalists about phage therapy. This made it necessary to select a number of information sources to empower my audience to become familiar with phage therapy and check-out what I was telling them. Since nobody appeared to have responded to the above question for information sources I thought I will share with you what I came up with:

Did a French-Canadian Microbiologist Discover a Cure for Superbug Infections Almost 100 Years Ago?

How many people will have to die before we give phage therapy a try! I was rereading the recent German book; Gesund durch Viren – Ein Ausweg aus der Antibiotika-Krise/Healthy Through Viruses – a way out of the antibiotic-resistance crisis (for an English review see http://www.evergreen.edu/phage/phagebooks.htm [nofollow] ) when I read news reports about yet another hospital outbreak of superbug infections. While only a few years ago, when Toronto musician Gertler went to Georgia in Eastern Europe, for phage therapy treatment for an antibiotic-resistant foot infection, it was a major adventure, today information and arrangements for such treatment is only a click away at http://www.phagetherapy.org [nofollow] .

While working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris in 1917, the French-Canadian microbiologist, Felix d’Herelle
( http://selections.medecine-sciences.com/archives/Volume0/sms8/EnCouv.pdf [nofollow] ), experienced one of those rare eureka moments when he saw his pathogenic bacteria cultures being lysed  - d’Herelle had discovered parasitic viruses which tend to be highly specialized for specific bacteria strains and which can kill large populations of bacteria relatively quickly without harming humans and animals. He named them bacteriophages – “bacteria eaters” and immediately recognized their potential as cures for bacterial infections at a time when neither sulfonamides nor antibiotics were available. He became a major advocate and practitioner of phage therapy, which was subsequently practiced word-wide to control bacterial infections. However, phage therapy fell into disuse in the West after the introduction of penicillin in the 1940’s. Phage therapy remained a significant medical technology in the former USSR, led by research and production facilities in Georgia ( http://www.phagetherapy.org [nofollow] ), and in Poland
( http://surfer.iitd.pan.wroc.pl/phages/ASM0408.html [nofollow] ).

Recently hundreds of Canadians died of C. difficile infections and each day roughly ten Canadians die of antibiotic-resistant and superbug infections and a similar number of limb amputations are done for such infections. While hubris
( http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/19/48hours/main522596.shtml [nofollow] ) may make it possible for some to ignore the massive scientific and application evidence from early years and from Eastern Europe, it is more difficult to ignore more recent work from many countries. For example, in 2000 two researchers from the Texas Tech Department of Microbiology state: “By using bacteriophage we can totally prevent the disease (C. difficile infections) in an animal model. … C. difficile is a perfect disease to be treated with bacteriophage” ( http://www.texastech.edu/news/vistasmag/vistas2000/dust.htm [nofollow] ).

Comprehensive English language information on phage therapy can be found at the following websites: ( http://www.evergreen.edu/phage [nofollow] ,
http://www.mansfield.ohio-state.edu/~sabedon/bib_pt.htm [nofollow] ).

Since the multidrug-resistance superbug phenomenon is strictly a human abuse created problem and is threatening to become the mother of all regulatory-scientific misadventures, it is essential that the regulatory-scientific community assume responsibility for this issue as well as the development and importation of methodologies which might help mitigate this crisis – instead of ignoring phage therapy in the name of hubris, nih (not invented here) and russophobia (http://www.scoop.co.nz/mason/stories/HL9910/S00096.htm [nofollow] ), it is a time to be humble and admit that we actively created the antibiotic-resistant superbug crisis. Letting patients die in the name of hubris, nih and russophobia is surely not good public health policy!

On December 3 and 4, 2004 the “Livesymposium Biotherapy” in Germany
( http://www.cpb.de/congress/index.php?id=248&L=1 [nofollow] ) will be examining the role of phage therapy as a viable treatment methodology for bacterial diseases in the light of ever increasing failure of antibiotics and the emergence of drug-resistant superbugs. In memory of Felix d’Herelle and victims multi-drug-resistant superbug infections the  media should be reporting live from this symposium.

P.S.: To appreciate the seriousness of the antibiotic-resistance superbug crisis the following report is recommended: Infectious Diseases Society of America, Bad Bugs, No Drugs As Antibiotic Discovery Stagnates … A Public Health Crisis Brews at http://www.idsociety.org [nofollow]


phdkso
 

Offline phdkso

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Dear Phage Fans:

I would like to add something to yesterday's note:

While googling "Rankin phage therapy" (see above website for russophobia) I found two comments on Rankin's original article - one critical and the other supportive:

Go to http://www.casi.org.nz/PQList-Archive/1999-10/msg00123.html [nofollow] and http://www.casi.org.nz/PQList-Archive/1999-10/msg00138.html [nofollow] and finally, the following website promoting Georgia has an interesting statement: http://www.georgiapromo.info/virus.html [nofollow] - “The programme revealed that we, humankind had discovered a superior cure (to antibiotics) for bacterial infections a century ago and for some reasons we, people don't know much about it! I find it a crime to know all this and not to inform the rest of the world about it(I added bold as I feel the same way!:(). Hundreds, thousands of people still die or loose body parts every single day because of this terrible (should be bacteria) virus! Medical statistics say that millions loose lives and become cripples every year of this dangerous virus (again should be bacteria) while the cure is found and is not that far!”

phdkso
 

Offline phdkso

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quote:
Originally posted by phdkso

Dear Phage Fans:

I would like to add something to yesterday's note:

While googling "Rankin phage therapy" (see above website for russophobia) I found two comments on Rankin's original article - one critical and the other supportive:

Go to http://www.casi.org.nz/PQList-Archive/1999-10/msg00123.html [nofollow] and http://www.casi.org.nz/PQList-Archive/1999-10/msg00138.html [nofollow] and finally, the following website promoting Georgia has an interesting statement: http://www.georgiapromo.info/virus.html [nofollow] - “The programme revealed that we, humankind had discovered a superior cure (to antibiotics) for bacterial infections a century ago and for some reasons we, people don't know much about it! I find it a crime to know all this and not to inform the rest of the world about it(I added bold as I feel the same way!:(). Hundreds, thousands of people still die or loose body parts every single day because of this terrible (should be bacteria) virus! Medical statistics say that millions loose lives and become cripples every year of this dangerous virus (again should be bacteria) while the cure is found and is not that far!”

phdkso



phdkso
 

Offline phdkso

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Hi Phage Fans:
 
If I had come across the website of Phage International before it did not strike me; however, I strongly recommend you have a look: http://www.phageinternational.com [nofollow]

phdkso
 

Offline chris

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Show featuring Nick Mann, phage expert, includes a link to his audio :

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/html/shows/2004.12.12.htm

Chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
 

Offline phdkso

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Quote
Originally posted by chris

Show featuring Nick Mann, phage expert, includes a link to his audio :

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/html/shows/2004.12.12.htm [nofollow]

Chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx

Dear Chris:

I read the transcript of this show and feel that it was tragic that phage therapy was treated as a new technology - I think it should have been stressed that it is currently available in Georgia and Poland and perhaps other countries like Russia. It may also soon be available in the Amerias, specifically Mexico - see http://www.phageinternational.com [nofollow]. -- Bill



[A thought for 2005 - Leader**** got us to where we are today and what we see is not very pretty - NO MORE LEADER****!]

phdkso
 

Offline chris

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The transcript probably doesn't do it justice.

What's new about it is that Nick has developed a nose spray that delivers a shower of phages to the front of the nose where Staph tends to colonise. This spray can be used to eliminate carriage in individuals colonised by Staphs, including MRSA.

Phage therapy has not been approached in this way before, and that's what is NEW. No one was trying to say that phage therapy per-se is new.

Chris

"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception"
 - Groucho Marx
 

Offline phdkso

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Hi Phage Types:
 
Things seem to have been quiet on this discussion group.
 
On pages 116 and 117 of the book "Gesund durch Viren" it is noted that considerable work was done using phages against typhoid at Los Angeles County Hospital and also in several hospitals in Canada in Montreal and Quebec. This work was published in the following two references:
 
Knouf, E.G. et al. (1946) - Treatment of typhoid fever with type specific bacteriophages, JAMA 32:134-138.
 
Desranleau, J.-M. (1949) - Progess in the treatment of typhoid fever with Vi bacteriophages, Canad J publ Health 40:473-478.
 
I wonder  how many have actually looked at some older references like those. I got copies of them recently because the book said that deaths rates were reduced from the normal 20% to 3of 56 and 2% of almost 100 patients. What surprised me was that these papers describe very high quality work. Phages were administered in IV drips into the blood stream and phage cocktails were used. The only thing I might have changed today is to also administer some phages by mouth at the same time.
 
My main point of this posting is to point out that these papers clearly show that phage therapy is NOT A NEW TECHNOLOGY to North America; but should be treated as a reintroduction of phage therapy to North America. As the professor told me back in the early 60's: phage therapy worked then when used by intelligent medical scientists and it will work now when used by well-informed medical scientists.


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Offline phdkso

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Hello Phage Therapy Fans:

Did you see the news below?

"Hope for Those with Diabetic Foot Ulcers and Other Antibiotic-Resistant Infections; Major Step Forward in Bringing Proven Bacteriophage Therapy to Western World

LOS ALTOS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 1, 2005--Phage International Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Phage Therapy Center, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, a privately held medical clinic offering bacteriophage therapy to patients from across the globe, and co-developer of PhageBioderm, a revolutionary bioactive medical polymer that is utilized for treating bed sores, burns, and tropical/necrotic ulcers. As PhageBioderm biodegrades, it delivers drugs, antibiotics, or pain medications.

Bacteriophages or phages are viruses that invade bacterial cells. Lytic phages disrupt bacterial metabolism and cause the bacterium to lyse. Like antibiotics, lytic phages have remarkable antibacterial activity.

Bacteriophage therapy have been successfully used to treat bacterial infections in former eastern block countries for over 80 years.

"With the alarming increase in the rate of antibiotic-resistant infections it is fortunate that we have a treatment technology that has proven to be successful in dealing with even the most difficult of infections. We are delighted to be involved in helping to commercialize this treatment technology and ultimately bringing bacteriophage therapy to the western world," said Ronald Goossens, President and CEO of PII.

"We are looking forward to helping more patients and training more physicians in the use of bacteriophage therapy," said Vakhtang Beridze, President of PTC.

The purchase was recorded as a transfer of shares transaction; PTC will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of PII.

Phage Therapy Center -- Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, treats antibiotic-resistant infections and has saved people from amputation. The clinic specializes in situations where bacteriophage therapy tends to be superior to standard and advanced therapy (including antibiotics) in the US and Western Europe. Conditions treated include: Diabetic foot ulcers, Tropic ulcers, Osteomyelitis, Bedsores, Burns, Gingivitis, Parodontosis, Stomatitis, and MRSA infections. http://www.phagetherapy.org [nofollow]

Phage International, Inc. -- Los Altos, Ca, a primary enabler of phage therapy, was formed in July of 2004. Its focus is bacteriophage-based human therapy to combat drug-resistant pathogens as well as to provide cost effective treatment for non-resistant pathogens. The company is in the process of opening a number of Phage Therapy Centers. www.phageinternational.com [nofollow]




Whenever a newspaper obituary lists cause of death as "complications" following surgery, chances were that a
doctor guessed wrong in terms of antibiotics -- or the bug had proved resistant to all of them. This was code that
all health care workers, hospital staff, and HMO providers understood but few outside the medical world knew.  
-- Michael Shnayerson and Mark Plotkin, "The Killers Within"

Phage International, Inc.
1278 Miramonte Avenue
Los Altos, California 94024
650-961-7262
www.phageinternational.com [nofollow]"


phdkso
 

Offline phdkso

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I am looking for any new reports of patients suffering from superbug infections who have gone to either Poland or Georgia for phage therapy treatment - reports of patients from U.K. are of specific interest - have there been any reports of U.K. citizens that have received phage therapy treatment in recent years? Thanks for any input.

["Before the evening sun turns red another 22 Cnadians of superbug infections will be dead!"]

phdkso
« Last Edit: 29/01/2007 17:15:11 by daveshorts »
 

Offline phdkso

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Hello All:
 
I recently got an email from what I call a "superbug pimp" - that is someone whose income depends on superbugs and that the superbug crisis does not change or at least changes very slowly. It sort of shocked me and I think the time of hoping that the regulatory-scientific community will reintroduce phage therapy is over. I think politicians have to be approached directly. So below is a model letter I have composed and use. Please feel free to use it and join me in this effort!

Dear ------------

Every day in Canada an estimated 30 Canadian citizens and voters die from antibiotic-resistant superbug infections. That is roughly the same number of Canadians who die of microbial foodborne infections in an entire year. While we fly into space on Russian rockets, use Russian Antonovs to fly our armed forces around the world, drink Russian Vodka and eat Russian Caviar while watching Russian hockey players, dancers and artists ...., we choose to let patients die of superbug infections in the name of hubris when it comes to applying phage therapy just because it has most recently been developed in Russia, Poland and Georgia (Europe). Thus many patients are dying just a phage treatment away from a cure. Yet phage therapy is a scientifically valid medical technology which, according to a letter from the federal health minister, can be made legally available to Canadians under the Special Access Program of the Food & Drugs Act. For individuals who know about phage therapy and have the money and time to travel phage therapy treatment is available in Georgia (Europe), Poland and Mexico (see http://www.phageinternational.com [nofollow] or http://www.relax-well.co.uk/MRSA-information-2.html [nofollow] ).

 In addition to the information attached to this fax, I will deposit a number of Canadian references on the subject in the office of my MP. A google search of Canadian websites gives 564 hits, some are publications of Canadian governments, including the Canadian Public Health Agency and National Defence is a major player in phage therapy research in Canada.. Clearly there is considerable expertise in Canada and as a microbiologist I feel that it is my duty to ensure that I inform those who can be instrumental in implementing a phage therapy program  and a proposal is shown below.

PROPOSAL FOR A PHAGE THERAPY PROGRAM:

THE REGULATORY-SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY MUST ACKNOWLEDGE THE SUPERBUG CRISIS AS THE HUMAN-MADE MOTHER OF ALL REGULATORY-SCIENTIFIC MISADVENTURES

GOVERNMENTS MUST DECLARE SUPERBUG CRISIS THE PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY THAT IT IS

FORM A PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP OF ALL RESOURCES WORKING ON PHAGE THERAPY - SOME EXAMPLES: HEALTH CANADA, AGRICULTURE & AGRI FOOD CANADA, NATIONAL DEFENCE CANADA, BIOPHAGE PHARMA INC. ( http://www.biophage.com [nofollow] ), GANGAGEN LIFE SCIENCES INC., OTTAWA ( http://www.gangagen.com/corporateframe.htm [nofollow] )

ASSESS WHAT IS KNOWN AND WHAT RESEARCH NEEDS TO BE DONE

CONSULT WITH GEORGIA, RUSSIA AND POLAND FOR SCIENTIFIC AND MEDICAL EXCHANGES

CONSIDER INVITATION TO PHAGE THERAPY EXPERTS

START IMPORTING PHAGE PREPARATIONS FOR COMPASSIONATE USE UNDER "SPECIAL ACCESS PROGRAM" OF FOOD & DRUGS ACT

FUND TRAVEL FOR PATIENTS TO FOREIGN CLINICS LIKE THE "PHAGE THERAPY CENTER" IN TBILISI, GEORGIA/MEXICO AND POLAND.

The following presentation can be arranged by request:

<< TO PHAGE OR NOT TO PHAGE LET PATIENTS DECIDE!>>

Ethical, scientific and moral considerations of withholding phage therapy treatment from patients with superbug infections

"World War III - Humans versus Superbugs: Today roughly the same number of Canadians will die of antibiotic-resistant and/or superbug infections [22 to 33] than will die of foodborne microbial disease in a whole year [30]. This is based on commonly used statistics ranging from 8,000 to 12,000 such deaths annually. On a worldwide basis 17,000,000 deaths are thought to occur annually due to infections and many of these are acquired in hospitals, making hospitals significant ‘killing fields’ in the war with superbugs. While it took six years during World War II to produce 55,000,000 casualties, this number is exceeded every four years in the war with superbugs, qualifying superbugs once again as the weapons of mass-destruction of humanity."


References: http://www.relax-well.co.uk/MRSA-information-2html [nofollow] ,

http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/5-5-31/29150.html [nofollow] , http://www.cheminst.ca/sections/ottawa/phage.PDF [nofollow] ,

http://www.cheminst.ca/sections/ottawa/news/Ottawanews_spring2003.pdf [nofollow]


Phage therapy jump off websites:

Georgia - http://www.phagetherapy.org [nofollow]

Poland - http://surfer.iitd.pan.wroc.pl/phages/ASM0408.html [nofollow]

                                    USA -http://www.evergreen.edu/phage ,

 http://www.mansfield.ohio_state.edu/~sabedon/bib_pt.htm [nofollow]

http://www.phageinternational.com [nofollow]

Disclaimer: This information was produced as a public good. It is the opinion of the author based on extensive study of published literature and is considered a valid interpretation of that literature; however, readers are encouraged to study the references and additional literature to form their own opinion. This information may be referenced, used or quoted with or without giving credit to the author. It may be distributed, copied or stored by any means. Readers and users are responsible for any outcomes from any use of this information.

phdkso
 

Offline phdkso

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Hi Colleagues: I am still working on this document but I thought I might get some feedback from you all:

CALLING ALL DOCTORS, JOURNALISTS AND POLITICIANS.
TO PHAGE OR NOT TO PHAGE LET PATIENTS DECIDE!“

Among the most worrisome of these superbugs is MRSA, or methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, a germ once found primarily in hospitals. But it's popping up so often outside of health care settings that it is, ‘arguably, a true pandemic’” -
http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/discoveries/2005-12-18-superbugs-scientists_x.htm [nofollow]
   
Something to think about: Microbial food borne disease causes the deaths of 30 Canadians and gunfire causes fewer than 200 Canadian deaths annually, while superbug infections cause as many as 12,000 Canadians to experience premature death annually and superbugs also cause a similar number of amputations. Superbugs do not discriminate as illustrated by “Cleaning boss hit by MRSA” ( http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006000023,00.html [nofollow] ).

By spending some time at the website ( http://tahilla.typepad.com/mrsawatch/headlines/index.html [nofollow] or http://www.mrsawatch.co.uk [nofollow] ) one will soon become impressed by the global impact of the superbug crisis - microbial menaces are thought to kill 17 million people annually, many of these infections are acquired while patients are in hospitals for unrelated diseases! And spending time at websites ( http://www.mrsasupport.co.uk/ [nofollow] or http://www.mrsaactionuk.com/ [nofollow] ) will give an appreciation of public outrage at the health systems and public reaction.
 
During the first six years of this century as many as 72,000 Canadian patients may have experienced premature deaths from infections due to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and/or superbugs. Many of these patients could have had their “funerals delayed” by having their infections cured had they known about bacteriophage therapy and if they had had the money and time to travel to Georgia, Europe ( http://www.phagetherapycenter.com/ [nofollow]  or http://www.phageinternational.com [nofollow] ) or Poland
( http://surfer.iitd.pan.wroc.pl/phages/ASM0408.html [nofollow] ). Scientific information on phage therapy is widely available as even a search with Google Scholar for “bacteriophage therapy” or “phage therapy” will yield 9,080 and 14,600 references respectively. In view of such abundance of scientific evidence related to phage therapy as a treatment option for certain bacterial infections how can the medical-scientific community explain the virtual boycott of this technology since World War II and especially since the emergence of the antibiotic-resistance crisis.  A letter dealing with phage therapy dated March 08, 2005 signed by the federal Health Minister states: “any physician, who feels that this type of therapy could be of benefit to a particular patient, can request authorization for use via the Special Access Programme”.

In view of the patient risk due to antibiotic failure, it is obvious that any discussion of bacterial antibiotic-resistance which does not include consideration of  phage therapy is medically and scientifically incomplete and/or worse intentionally or intellectually  dishonest. It is clear that the antibiotic-resistance superbug phenomenon is a human-created, regulatory/scientific misadventure due solely to massive abuse of antibiotics since their discovery as even in 1945 it was obvious that when natural pathogens are exposed to natural antibiotics they will undergo natural selection and acquire resistance. It can be reasonably argued that any scientist, health professional and perhaps even politicians as well as health policy wonks working on the antibiotic-resistance superbug issue or treating superbug infections “ought to know” that phage therapy is a currently available and practised treatment option and patients should at least be provided with adequate information so they can make an informed decision as to whether they want to undergo this treatment option.

While phage will not likely replace antibiotics for treating bacterial infections, they do represent a lifeline for individuals with infections where antibiotic therapy has failed and letting citizens die in the name of hubris is surely not good public health policy. There is adequate scientific evidence for careful oral and external applications of appropriate phages to help reduce the emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains. Compassionate use of appropriate phages seems warranted in cases where bacteria resistant against all available antibiotics are causing life-threatening illness. A recent bureaucratic suggestion that it might take ten years of reinventing-the-wheel type research to mapleleaf phage therapy seems cruel as this could mean that another 120,000 Canadians could die of superbug infections before any patients will be treated in Canada.

Something to watch: The Diabetic Foot Global Conference ( http://www.dfcon.com [nofollow] ) will be held 23 to 25, March, 2006 in Hollywood, Ca and a phage therapy symposium will be part of the program. Phage therapy practitioners from the Elivia Institute, Tbilisi, Georgia and the Wound Care Center in Lubbock, TX ( http://www.woundcarecenter.net [nofollow] ) will be presenters.

   “Too many regulatory-scientific misadventures. It’s a time to be humble! It’s a time to apologize!”
 
This document is a draft which may change without notice. Version date: January 7, 2006. Prepared by G.W. (Bill) Riedel, PhD, MCIC
Disclaimer: This information was produced as a public good. It is based on extensive study of published literature and is the author’s opinion. Readers are encouraged to study the references and additional literature to form their own opinion. This information may be referenced, used or quoted with or without giving credit to the author. It may be distributed, copied or stored by any means. Readers and users are responsible for any outcomes from any use of this information.

phdkso
 

Offline phdkso

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Hi to all phagists:

I have always been fond of finding scientific explanations for religious practices or writings - such may be with phage therapy - read on:

The Absurdity of the Superbug Crisis.

The absurdity of the superbug crisis consists of the fact that it can be demonstrated that we had technology, namely bacteriophage therapy, which can cure many superbug infections, long before we created the antibiotic-resistance superbug crisis through massive abuse of antibiotics. In spite of a voluminous literature attesting to the scientific validity and medical effectiveness of phage therapy, there are still phage therapy deniers who would resist the careful deployment of these weapons of mass destructions for specific pathogens in the war with superbugs. Superbugs are winning most battles with an estimated 17 million human casualties due to microbial infections worldwide annually. Many of these infections are acquired by patients after entering hospitals for unrelated illnesses, making hospitals significant killing fields in the war with superbugs.

Phage therapy may even be the scientific explanation for the following passage:
   “Then went he down, and dipped himself seven times in Jordan,
    according to the saying of the man of God: and his flesh came
    again like onto the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.”
   From the Holy Bible (II Kings 5:14)
   
What is Phage Therapy? from Bacteriophage Therapy
by Alexander Sulakvelidze, Zemphira Alavidze, and J. Glenn Morris Jr.
“Prior to the discovery and widespread use of antibiotics, it was suggested that bacterial infections could be prevented and/or treated by the administration of bacteriophages. Although the early clinical studies with bacteriophages were not vigorously pursued in the United States and Western Europe, phages continued to be utilized in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. The results of these studies were extensively published in non-English (primarily Russian, Georgian, and Polish) journals and, therefore, were not readily available to the western scientific community. In this minireview, we briefly describe the history of bacteriophage discovery and the early clinical studies with phages and we review the recent literature emphasizing research conducted in Poland and the former Soviet Union. We also discuss the reasons that the clinical use of bacteriophages failed to take root in the West, and we share our thoughts about future prospects for phage therapy research.
Bacteriophages or phages are bacterial viruses that invade bacterial cells and, in the case of lytic phages, disrupt bacterial metabolism and cause the bacterium to lyse. The history of bacteriophage discovery has been the subject of lengthy debates, including a controversy over claims for priority. Ernest Hankin, a British bacteriologist, reported in 1896 on the presence of marked antibacterial activity (against Vibrio cholerae) which he observed in the waters of the Ganges and Jumna rivers in India, and he suggested that an unidentified substance (which passed through fine porcelain filters and was heat labile) was responsible for this phenomenon and for limiting the spread of cholera epidemics. Two years later, the Russian bacteriologist Gamaleya observed a similar phenomenon while working with Bacillus subtilis, and the observations of several other investigators are also thought to have been related to the bacteriophage phenomenon. However, none of these investigators further explored their findings until Frederick Twort, a medically trained bacteriologist from England, reintroduced the subject almost 20 (1915) years after Hankin's observation by reporting a similar phenomenon and advancing the hypothesis that it may have been due to, among other possibilities, a virus. However, for various reasonsincluding financial difficulties Twort did not pursue this finding, and it was another 2 years before bacteriophages were "officially" discovered by Felix d'Herelle (1917), a French-Canadian microbiologist at the Institut Pasteur in Paris. The emergence of pathogenic bacteria resistant to most, if not all, currently available antimicrobial agents has become a critical problem in modern medicine, particularly because of the concomitant increase in immunosuppressed patients. The concern that humankind is reentering the "preantibiotics" era has become very real, and the development of alternative antiinfection modalities has become one of the highest priorities of modern medicine and biotechnology.”
( http://www.phageinternational.com/phagetherapy/whatisphagetherapy.htm [nofollow] ).

Once one accepts the fact that it requires microscopes to see the world of bacteria and bacteriophages, phage therapy may be compared to any biological control methodology and can conceptually be described as: What a cat is to a mouse the right bacteriophage is to a specific bacterium or superbug. Lytic phages are the weapons of mass destruction in the war with superbugs! And as can be seen above, phage therapy has been going on in nature as a balancing force in the evolution of microbes. Medical phage therapy is simply the intervention of humans to ensure that the balance is in favour of bacteriophages over susceptible bacterial pathogens!

From the Jordan (2 Kings 5:1-14) and Ganges rivers to the phage therapy centers in Georgia
( http://www.phagetherapycenter.com/ [nofollow] , http://www.phageinternational.com [nofollow] ), Poland
( http://surfer.iitd.pan.wroc.pl/phages/ASM0408.html [nofollow] ) and to the Wound Care Center
 ( http://www.woundcarecenter.net [nofollow] ) in Lubbock, Texas, bacteriophages have, are and will continue to cure bacterial disease in spite of what phage therapy deniers say!

Something to watch: The Diabetic Foot Global Conference ( http://www.dfcon.com [nofollow] ) will be held 23 to 25, March, 2006 in Hollywood, Ca and a phage therapy symposium will be part of the program. Phage therapy practitioners from the Elivia Institute, Tbilisi, Georgia and the Wound Care Center in Lubbock, TX ( http://www.woundcarecenter.net [nofollow] ) will be presenters.

References:  http://www.relax-well.co.uk/MRSA-information-2.html [nofollow] ,
 http://www.theepochtimes.com/news/5-5-31/29150.html [nofollow] ,   http://www.cheminst.ca/sections/ottawa/phage.PDF [nofollow] ,
http://www.cheminst.ca/sections/ottawa/news/Ottawanews_spring2003.pdf [nofollow]
Phage therapy jump off websites: Georgia - http://www.phagetherapy.org [nofollow]
Poland -  http://surfer.iitd.pan.wroc.pl/phages/ASM0408.html [nofollow]
USA - http://www.evergreen.edu/phage [nofollow] ,  http://www.mansfield.ohio-state.edu/~sabedon/bib_pt.htm [nofollow]
http://www.phageinternational.com [nofollow]   Israel - http://www.phage-biotech.com/index.html [nofollow]

   “Too many regulatory-scientific misadventures. It’s a time to be humble! It’s a time to
   apologize!”
Disclaimer: This information was produced as a public good. It is the opinion of the author based on extensive study of published literature. Readers are encouraged to study the references and additional literature to form their own opinion. This information may be referenced, used or quoted with or without giving credit to the author. It may be distributed, copied or stored by any means. Readers and users are responsible for any outcomes from any use of this information. Version dated March 5, 2006 and may be revised

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Offline phdkso

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Putting another nail into the arguments of phage therapy deniers!

In 2003 the Swiss author Thomas Hausler published an excellent book on phage therapy entitled: Gesund durch Viren - ein Ausweg aus der Antibiotika-Krise, roughly translated Healthy through Viruses - a way out of the antibiotic-resistance crisis. For an English language review of that book see http://www.evergreen.edu/phage/phagebooks.htm [nofollow] . This excellent book is readable by everyone from high school to PhD.

I have just been informed that the English language version of this book will be available in May or June  this year as: Thomas Hausler -Viruses Vs. Superbugs - A Solution to the Antibiotics Crisis? For information on the book go to http://www.macmillanscience.com/1403987645.htm [nofollow] - please print out the UK and US versions of the comments - there are some interesting differences.

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Offline Pol

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I've had the pleasure to follow this interesting topic for some time (congratulations for the quality of the information), but there are still some essential doubts coming to my mind. For longer than one year I've been working in Quorum Sensing. I seriously consider this and phage therapy interesting (possible) alternatives to antiobiotic treatment. But at the end I always come up to the same point:

- What is the real applicability of those treatments? How long do they have to be at experimental phase till they can be used as a cure? As I said, I've been reading all publications here so I've read that phage therapy has been already used in vivo, but I still don't understand why if it's so promising, it's not commonly used.

I guess the fear to new treatments is in part the answer. But what if that risico is at the end real? The idea that phages are specific, they'll kill bacterial infection and after will become harmless sounds great and sounds to me as good, at least, as using the bacterium bdellovibrio for the same purpose but... what if the virus remains in the body and after it has adversal effects? Or what happens if the patient has an adverse reaction to the virus (As an example I'll use the article about stem cells in Newscientist from March 2006: "the 18-year-old volunteer with a liver disease died from an inflammatory reaction to the virus used to deliver genes.")

I really like a lot this subject but of course as in my research, I understand people who are  just afraid to try it in vivo.

Thanks a lot and congratulations again!!

Tell me and maybe I'll forget it. Teach me and maybe I'll remember. Let me participate and I'll learn
 

Offline phdkso

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I think that you might be interested in a new website
 just put up at www.bacteriophagetherapy.info [nofollow] - it is by the author
 of the book Viruses vs Superbugs just hitting the shelves - it should answer most of your questions

"It explains lay persons the ropes of phage therapy and has some goodies for the experts. I. e.. a long literature list and also a blog that I would like to develop into a clearing-house for news in the field."

I think all who are interested in phage therapy should buy a copy. Below is my review of the German version of the book which came out in 2003:

Book review: Viruses Vs. Superbugs A Solution to the Antibiotics Crisis? by Thomas Häusler to be released May 2006, Macmillan - http://www.macmillanscience.com/1403987645.htm [nofollow]

Since 2003 German readers have been privileged to be able to read Swiss author Häusler’s book, Gesund durch Viren - ein Ausweg aus der Antibiotika-Krise. Now the imminent release of an updated version of this book entitled, “Viruses vs Superbugs”, will allow a much larger audience to read his fascinating story describing an important epoch in science and medicine that started over one hundred years ago and is still unfolding. This review of the original German version draws on a review originally published in German by Hermann Feldmeier.

In 1969 the Surgeon General of the United States, William H. Stewart announced that the war against epidemics due to pathogens had been won. Seldom has medical dogma pronounced by the highest ranking medical officer of the USA been rendered absurd so rapidly. Actually infections due to pathogens did temporarily decrease during the 1960's; however, only to return twenty years later with increased and ever increasing vehemence. Today it is estimated that as many as 17 million deaths worldwide are caused by microbial infections annually. Nosocomial infections - hospital acquired infections - and multi-resistant pathogens, terms which until recently were familiar only to experts, are today topics of the public press and it is not surprising, because in Germany  alone 20,000 people die annually of nosocomial infections. The Canadian number of victims may be as high as 12,000 annually.

The prospects for the future are still gloomier. While it took approximately fifty years for 95 per cent of Staphylococcus aureus strains to become resistant to penicillin, today certain problem bacteria need only a few years to acquire resistance even to totally new classes of antibiotics. Additionally,  the pharmaceutical industry no longer has  many chemical substances in the research pipeline that will come to market as older antibiotics fail.  At the same time the need for effective antibiotics continues to increase as more patients must be protected against the threat of infections because of weakened immune systems or because they are organ transplant recipients.

New hope is promised by a therapy which is substantially older than penicillin - treatment with bacteriophages.  On August 2, 1919 their discoverer, the French Canadian Felix d’Herelle, administered a cloudy broth containing Shigella phages to a deathly-ill boy at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, curing him of dysentery. After an early worldwide boom this therapy today exists essentially only in some Eastern European countries, including  Georgia and Poland; however, is now again receiving attention in the West, even if many infection control specialists remain sceptical.

This paradigm shift is the background for an unusually well researched, outstandingly well written and scientifically based book by the Swiss journalist Thomas Häusler.  From the beginnings to the present the author, who is also trained in biochemistry, describes all aspects of a concept (bacteriophage therapy), whose therapeutic potential is not easily communicated during times of AIDS and SARS. Bacteriophages are actually viruses highly specialized to attack bacterial cells and they do no harm to animal cells. When a phage discovers a bacterium to which it possesses the correct key - that is, there are suitable receptors on the bacterial cell to which the phage can attach with its tentacle-like extensions - then the phage will inject its hereditary DNA into the bacteria cell.  Taking-over the bacterial cell’s biochemical apparatus hundreds of phage copies are then produced rupturing the bacterial cell as the victim dies, and the released daughter phages attack any remaining bacterial cells like a pack of hungry wolves.

The advantages of the therapy are obvious.  Bacteriophages are very specific parasites and contrary to antibiotics, do not damage the useful bacteria which live in and on the body. Phages are "intelligent" medicines:  They increase just where they are needed while antibiotics often do not even get to where they are needed to work. Once all phage-susceptible bacteria have been killed phages are eliminated from the body.

The high specificity, with which phages look for their bacterial victims, is at the same time also their therapeutic Achilles' heel.  Either the infection control specialist must have a cocktail containing very many different types of phages, or a phage specifically effective against the pathogen of each patient  must be custom-made through detailed microbiological analytical work.  Western regulatory authorities tend to loath recognizing such manually manufactured anti-infective agents as medicines which explains why currently phage therapy is routinely only available at phage therapy centers in Georgia, Europe and Poland.

For chronic infections on outside and internal body surfaces due to multi-resistant pathogens,  which can not be treated with current methods, phage therapy could become a kind miracle medicine if Western regulatory agencies could be convinced to focus regulatory oversight on the process of how phage preparations are isolated and purified rather than the end product.

Throughout the book, interviews with researchers are skilfully intertwined with descriptions of actual patient experiences. The middle part of the book is also outstanding in describing the trails and errors of phage therapy as practised between 1930 and 1990. Here journalist Häusler points out what influence political events have on the medical research - from the "Great Patriotic War" of Russia against Nazi Germany to the collapse of the Soviet Union and up to September 11, 2001. All this is augmented by a long list of footnotes, a detailed list of references and numerous instructive illustrations. Häusler has succeeded in  writing a book that can be read by high school students and yet is useful and of interest to medical and phage therapy experts - an amazing feat!  

Experts from USA, UK, Canada and Israel have praised the new English version as scientific journalism at its best and predict that readers will finish this book utterly convinced that phage therapy will provide alternative treatment for superbug infections even in countries not currently using this technology.

Because of the public health significance of the antibiotic-resistance superbug crisis this book deserves to be on the shelf of every private and public library. Sooner or later many of us will be faced with or know someone suffering from an infection not responding to antibiotics. At that time the stark choice is between death, amputation or an expensive trip to Georgia, Poland. The latter choice is available only  for individuals knowledgeable about phage therapy who have the financial resources and time left! Perhaps this book will bring the message about phage therapy to enough people so that politicians and health officials can no longer ignore the demand for this treatment and that phage therapy will be available as needed when antibiotics fail! For individuals who have the financial means it may be a worthwhile investment to send a copy of the book (or at least a copy of this review) to their elected representatives so they can not say that they did not know that phage therapy is a currently available medical technology when, as some experts prognosticate, superbugs will have caused us to return to the pre-antibiotic era and many medical procedures that routinely rely on the use of antibiotics will no longer be possible!

{ This book review is dedicated to the estimated 76,000 Canadians who have died as well as those who have suffered amputations or  just plainly suffered  from superbug infections since January 1, 2000 - dated May 1, 2006 }


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Take a look at this announcement. It makes Canada the leader of a worldwide bureaucracy in reinventing phage therapy for treating superbug infections and is the most significant endorsement by a wide sector of health related agencies that this technology works and could cure many patients and save many healthcare dollars as well as free-up many hospital beds!

"I am very happy to provide you with an update on the status of the June 2006 "Novel Alternatives to Antibiotics Research Initiative".  All of our hard work has come to fruition, and the Initiative has recently been posted and can be viewed at: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/31302.html [nofollow]

I believe that Judith has informed you about this particular Initiative, and I thought that I would send you an update.  The more people know about this funding opportunity, the better.  We really can't rely on a "build it and they will come" attitude. It will be very important to get the word out to the right people in order for our plans to reach the level of success we desire.   If you know of anyone that might be interested applying to our Initiative, please pass on the information.  Thank you in advance for your help with this matter."

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Offline phdkso

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Viruses vs. Superbugs by Thomas Häusler, June 2006

On June 26 at about 7:00 p.m. I was finally able to get a much awaited copy of the book - Viruses vs. Superbugs - a solution to the antibiotic crisis? It turned out to be a fascinating and informative read and is highly recommended for anyone interested in the superbug crisis and the use of bacteriophages to mediate this crisis. I finished the book by June 29, 1:00 pm.

Two thoughts kept going through my mind: 1. Phage therapy research - too little, too late and tooo.... slow! And 2. Superbugs are everybody’s business because superbugs make everybody their business!

This book is a "must read" and I wish you happy reading!


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Offline phdkso

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Viruses vs. Superbugs by Thomas Häusler, June 2006

On June 26 at about 7:00 p.m. I was finally able to get a much awaited copy of the book - Viruses vs. Superbugs - a solution to the antibiotic crisis? It turned out to be a fascinating and informative read and is highly recommended for anyone interested in the superbug crisis and the use of bacteriophages to mediate this crisis. I finished the book by June 29, 1:00 pm.

Two thoughts kept going through my mind: 1. Phage therapy research - too little, too late and tooo.... slow! And 2. Superbugs are everybody’s business because superbugs make everybody their business!

This book is a "must read" and I wish you happy reading!


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Offline phdkso

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Well, I see phage therapy is again reality in the West and I was impressed that we have our priorities right - we will phage veggies not people. I thought this event should be celebrated with the worst kind of poetry ever written. Clearly the younger members can't afford to rise to such an occasion .... As I am TOO OLD TO DIE YOUNG ANYMORE I thought I would humbly jump into the breach:

Biiizzzarrooo..

When superbugs infected the tomatoes
regulators quickly looked at the data
and approved bacteriophages to save the tomatoes

( See  http://www.genengnews.com/news/bnitem.aspx?name=4063128 [nofollow] )

When a hospital a superbug infection to a patient does presenten
at bacteriophage therapy s/he must not denken
because the regulators will genoten
that treating superbug infections of humans with phage therapy is strictly VERBOTEN!
After 100 years we have not had enough time for phage therapy re-inventen
even if many patients dead will abenden! - bizarre... sick....

(See Viruses vs. Superbugs, a solution to the antibiotic crisis?
http://www.bacteriophagetherapy.info [nofollow] ) UC



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Offline phdkso

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This should get you to the US FDA's Docket No. 2002F-0316 - Food Additives Permitted for Direct Addition to Food for Human Consumption; Bacteriophage  Preparation:
 http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/02f-0316-nfr0001.pdf [nofollow]
 
In my opinion this is a very good evaluation of the bacteriophage cocktail for addition to ready-to-eat meats against Listeria monocytogenes and should be read by all.
 
What I am trying to get my mind around is that with all that knowledge within FDA, why would they not be taking the initiative to promote phage therapy for certain superbug infections, for example, bed sores, diabetic foot etc. Surely they can't claim that they did not know that phages are effective for these types of infections??
 
"Re-inventing phage therapy: Too little, too late, too slow, too dear, too bureaucratic, too much hubris, and too little compassion for too many people suffering and dying from superbug infections."

See: http://www.bacteriophagetherapy.info [nofollow]

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Offline phdkso

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New phage therapy article

There is an article by Kurt Kleiner The new age of the phage in the Toronto Star, Dec 3, 2006, D1

I did an interview and am quoted and have copies - I have not been able to display it; however, there is a link at the following Blog - good luck finding it!

http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2006/12/bacteriophage-therapy.html [nofollow]
 

Offline phdkso

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How are bacteriophages used as antibiotics, to kill bacteria?
« Reply #47 on: 18/03/2007 00:48:09 »
Silicon Valley Business Journal, Jan 5, 07 by Sara Solovitch


Hi All: I had not previously seen the article on phage therapy entitled, "Making business from treatment Western medicine passed by" - see

http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjose/stories/2007/01/08/story4.html [nofollow]

Interesting as it gives specifics about actual treatment activities going on in Georgia!
 

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How are bacteriophages used as antibiotics, to kill bacteria?
« Reply #48 on: 20/03/2007 02:42:51 »
This subject is really interesting. I am studying Microbiology at Uni so it relates :-D.
 

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How are bacteriophages used as antibiotics, to kill bacteria?
« Reply #49 on: 03/04/2007 01:17:05 »
USDA allowance of Bacteriophage Treatment of Salmonella on Livestock

OmniLytics Announces USDA/FSIS Allowance of Bacteriophage Treatment of Salmonella on Livestock
http://home.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/index.jsp?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20070329005872&newsLang=en [nofollow]
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

How are bacteriophages used as antibiotics, to kill bacteria?
« Reply #49 on: 03/04/2007 01:17:05 »

 

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