Research Topic

Phage therapy: past, present and future

About this Research Topic

Historically, the first observation of a transmissible lytic agent that is specifically active against a bacterium (Bacillus anthracis) was by a Russian microbiologist Nikolay Gamaleya in 1898. At that time, however, it was too early to make a connection to another discovery made by Dmitri Ivanovsky in ...

Historically, the first observation of a transmissible lytic agent that is specifically active against a bacterium (Bacillus anthracis) was by a Russian microbiologist Nikolay Gamaleya in 1898. At that time, however, it was too early to make a connection to another discovery made by Dmitri Ivanovsky in 1892 and Martinus Beijerinck in 1898 on a non-bacterial pathogen infecting tobacco plants. Thus the viral world was discovered in two of the three domains of life, and our current understanding is that viruses represent the most abundant biological entities on the planet.

The potential of bacteriophages for infection treatment have been recognized after the discoveries by Frederick Twort and Felix d'Hérelle in 1915 and 1917. Subsequent phage therapy developments, however, have been overshadowed by the remarkable success of antibiotics in infection control and treatment, and phage therapy research and development persisted mostly in the former Soviet Union countries, Russia and Georgia, as well as in France and Poland. The dramatic rise of antibiotic resistance and especially of multi-drug resistance among human and animal bacterial pathogens, however, challenged the position of antibiotics as a single most important pillar for infection control and treatment. Thus there is a renewed interest in phage therapy as a possible additive/alternative therapy, especially for the infections that resist routine antibiotic treatment.

The basis for the revival of phage therapy is affected by a number of issues that need to be resolved before phage therapy can enter the arena, which is traditionally reserved for antibiotics. Probably the most important one is the regulatory issue: How should phage therapy be regulated? Similarly to drugs? Then the co-evolving nature of phage-bacterial host relationship will be a major hurdle for the production of consistent phage formulae. Or should we resort to the phage products such as lysins and the corresponding engineered versions in order to have accurate and consistent delivery doses? We still have very limited knowledge about the pharmacodynamics of phage therapy. More data, obtained in animal models, are necessary to evaluate the phage therapy efficiency compared, for example, to antibiotics. Another aspect is the safety of phage therapy. How do phages interact with the immune system and to what costs, or benefits? What are the risks, in the course of phage therapy, of transduction of undesirable properties such as virulence or antibiotic resistance genes? How frequent is the development of bacterial host resistance during phage therapy? Understanding these and many other aspects of phage therapy, basic and applied, is the main subject of this Topic. Thus the submissions that uncover the broad range of phage therapy issues and propose solutions are very welcome. Submissions can be made in any format accepted by Frontiers, i.e., original research articles, opinions, perspectives, methods and reviews.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Recent Articles

Loading..

About Frontiers Research Topics

With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area! Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author.

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..
Loading..

total views article views article downloads topic views

}
 
Top countries
Top referring sites
Loading..

Comments

Loading..

Add a comment

Add comment
Back to top