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Biological challenges of phage therapy and proposed solutions: a literature review

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journal contribution
posted on 03.12.2019 by Katherine M Caflisch, Gina A Suh, Robin Patel

Introduction: In light of the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, phage (bacteriophage) therapy has been recognized as a potential alternative or addition to antibiotics in Western medicine for use in humans.

Areas covered: This review assessed the scientific literature on phage therapy published between 1 January 2007 and 21 October 2019, with a focus on the successes and challenges of this prospective therapeutic.

Expert opinion: Efficacy has been shown in animal models and experimental findings suggest promise for the safety of human phagotherapy. Significant challenges remain to be addressed prior to the standardization of phage therapy in the West, including the development of phage-resistant bacteria; the pharmacokinetic complexities of phage; and any potential human immune response incited by phagotherapy.


R Patel is supported by UM1 AI104681, R01 AR056647, R01 AI091594, R01 AI134770 and R21 AI125870. K M Caflisch is supported by T32 AR056950.