Would bacteriophages kill resistant bacteria?

Oladele A. OGUNSEITAN oaogunse at UCI.EDU
Fri Mar 22 14:45:05 EST 1996

The original idea of PHAGE THERAPY against pathogenic bacteria dates back 
to the 1920s.  It was investigated by the discoverers of bacteriophage - 
Felix D'herelle and F. Twort.  There were some problems but not 
insummountable ones.  The discovery of antibiotics led to disinterest in 
phage therapy.  

	It is time to rekindle research in this area, due to the increase 
in bacterial antibiotic resistance.  There are two important problems to 
be solved:

 (1) Development of phage resistance by bacteria.  This problem 
can be overcome by more detailed molecular genetics and protein analysis 
of host recognition signals which are often linked to the antigenicity of 
bacteria. A situation can be conceived whereby the pathogenic bacteria's 
resistance to phage is tied to the loss of pathogenicity to humans.

(2) Antigenicity of phage proteins.  This is a significant question that 
has not been studied much.  Ingesting large amounts of bacteriophage can 
presumably lead to another type of illness in addition to the ongoing one 
caused by pathogenic bacteria. It is possible to select for phage that do 
not interact with human immune system - yet are able to lyse bacteria 
with low burst size.

We should keep this topic alive on the net....

Dele Ogunseitan
Assistant Professor
Department of Environmental Analysis & Design
University of California
Irvine 92717-5150

On 22 Mar 1996 klasteos at student.dtu.dk wrote:

> Dear reader,
> Behind the retorical question in my 'Subject' is the idea of using virulent
> bacteriophages for killing antibiotic resistant bacteria. A well chosen virus
> should be able to pass through a mammal digestion system and infect the
> resistant bacterium when it gets in contact with it.
> I would like comments to this idea, if you have any.
> Sincerely,
> Steen Oestergaard
> The Technical University of Denmark

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