News and Media
Komo News, March 30, 2013
Desperate: Obscure Therapy Saves Woman's Life
A local family got the worst possible news - an infection was taking over a young woman's
body and she was close to death. The worst of it came about two years ago when two infections - MRSA and pseudomonas - settled in Rachel's lungs and
wouldn't let go. They tried virtually every antibiotic available - but Rachel's infections were drug resistant. Doctors prepared the family for Rachel's death.
From the first phage treatment that we did, the MRSA disappeared. And we'd been battling MRSA for almost three years, at the point we started this. And it was gone,
says Rose George. The MRSA cleared up. Then the psuedomonas infection went away.
Dr. Tim Lu
Dr. Tim Lu - Biofilms and Phage Therapy
This 11 minute film is excerpted from an interview with Dr. Tim Lu, who is an expert in characterizing & eliminating biofilms with phage therapy. He offers some insightful ways to describe complex biofilms and their connection to antibiotic resistance.
The Virus that Cures (MP4)
With MRSA threatening to infect huge numbers of patients who make even short trips to the
hospital, and the gradual increase in the number of bacteria that are resistant to all
known antiobiotics, scientists are turning to new ways to conquer the killer bugs. The
emergence of dangerous antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria is most prevalent in the
USA where antibiotics are available over the counter and are often mishandled. Please note: this takes some time to download to your computer.
NPR April 4, 2008
Using 'Phage' Viruses to Help Fight Infection
At the Society for General Microbiology meeting in Edinburgh, researchers presented work on incorporating bacteriophages into dressings for wounds and
cleaning materials used in hospitals. The scientists found a way to bind the phages to polymer particles, allowing the viruses to remain active for up
to three weeks rather than breaking down after a few hours. The hope is that the phage-based approach will provide new weapons in the battle against dangerous bacteria.
SCIENCE - Vol 298 (www.sciencemag.com), October 25, 2002
Georgian doctors turned to a therapy virtually unknown in the West: they
unleashed the bacteria's natural predators. The PhageBioderm patches eliminated the
infection and within a few weeks, the woodsmen were stable enough to go abroad for
treatment to replace the lost skin.
Corante, January 6, 2005
Enemies to Friends
Bacteriophages are wickedly elegant in the way they find hosts and inject their DNA, which
then hijacks the bacteria's cellular machinery to make new bacteriophages.
NewsWeek, December 6, 2005
As recently as the 1980s, doctors thought they had bacteria licked. But the microbes have
bounced back with a vengeance, developing resistance to the strongest of antibiotics. A
study released over the summer reports that 70 percent of infections acquired in
hospitalsthe hot zone for disease transmissioncan defy at least one drug. And
the problem is seeping out into the community. [...] Further down the line is the prospect
of attacking bacteria with naturally occurring viruses known as phages. Phage therapy was
practiced in the United States before antibiotics were developed 60 years ago, and it's
still used in Poland and parts of the former Soviet Union.
NIH News, Sept 23, 2004
Scientists Discover Potential New Way to Control Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Based on an improved understanding of bacteriophages viruses that infect
bacteria scientists reporting in the Sept. 23 issue of the journal Nature
believe they have discovered a potential new way to control drug-resistant bacteria, an
increasingly worrisome public health problem.
Science Magazine, May 2004
offer a real alternative
Phage therapy was used extensively in the pre-antibiotic era when phage biology was poorly
understood and before properly designed and randomized clinical trials had been undertaken
for any medical intervention. This era nonetheless provided many proofs of concept fort
the safety and efficacy of phage therapy. Then, as with many other areas of infections
disease research, the advent of the antibiotic era brought clinical studies of phage
therapy to an end, except in some states of the former Soviet Union where phage therapy
continues to be used.
Nature Biotechnology, February 12, 2004
Dogma, New Tricks - 21st Century Phage Therapy
A US government document released in 2000 warned of a "growing menace to all
people". The reference was not to terrorism or foreign dictators, but to the
increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant microbes.
PLoS Biology, February, 2004
New Antibiotics - Resistance Is Futile
By next summer, more than 40% of Streptococcus pneumoniae strains in the
United States will resist both penicillin and erythromycin, according to a recent
prediction from the Harvard School of Public Health. The forecast, based on mathematical
modeling, was published in the spring of 2003. It's too early to tell whether that
prediction is precisely on track, according to the senior author on that paper, Marc
Lipsitch. But no one doubts that multidrug resistance in this common bugresponsible
for diseases that range from sinus trouble and ear infections to meningitis and
pneumoniais speeding up.
December 9, 2003
Germs that Fight Germs
When Alavidze tested them in her lab, she found not one, but five types of bacteria
strep, staph, pseudomonas, enterococcus and E. coli. The phage therapy would not be easy,
she realized, and there was a chance it might not eliminate the infection. She would have
to create a phage cocktail to target all the bacteria. It would take her four months.
He had very, very resistant strains, says Alavidze, so it took long time
to isolate phages. We make it personally for Kevin. And when finally we test, in 18 hours
phages kill Kevins bacteria strep, staph, enterococcus all of
Business World, Monday, November 17, 2003
The Virus that Heals
There aren't too many companies that put their money on viruses. But this one has
-- and it could well be on its way to global leadership.
Wired Magazine, October, 2003
How Ravenous Soviet Viruses Will Save the World
Between mid-'92 and mid-'94, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or VRE, infected
75 patients, killing 6. A random sampling in fall '93 found that 20 percent of patients
had VRE in their bloodstream. People were dying, and there was nothing anyone could do
Die Zeit, September 9, 2003
Whenever Nodar Daniela shows up in the ward of the Medical University in Hanover, it means
emergency. Then bacteria have once again taken control. Often you can even smell their
dominance. Proteus bacteria really stink says the doctor who after 30 years at
the microbiological front is on social terms with the germs. Daniela
tells about a former patient that reeked like a swamp while trying to fight off a
multitude of bacteria. The 27yr old had burned his upper body. Daniela shows a picture:
spread-out red wound islands and purulent heads in rimply skin. It is a view that is hard
to bear for an outsider but all too common for a doctor.
Science Magazine, June 2003
prospect for bacteriophage therapy in Western medicine
The ability for phage to replicate exponentially and kill pathogenic strains
of bacteria indicates that they should play a vital role in our armamentarium for the
treatment of infectious diseases.
ScienCentral News, June 3, 2003
E. coli Killer
Strains of the E. coli bacteria are responsible for some of the worst food poisoning
epidemics in recent history. But as this ScienCentral News video reports, scientists may
have found its natural predator, a bacteria-eating virus. These days, the word
virus brings to mind illnesses like SARS. But scientists have discovered that
a virus called a phage could actually prevent you from getting sick. A phage
is a virus that specifically infects bacteria and kills them, but it has no effect on
humans, explains Andrew Brabban, a microbiologist at Evergreen State College. He and
fellow microbiologist Betty Kutter found that a phage called CEV-1 kills most harmful
strains of E. coli bacteria right at the source of the problem, in the intestines of
BBC News, April 23, 2003
Virus used to kill food bug
Sheep carry a virus which could be harnessed to kill the E.coli food poisoning bug.
The discovery could help eradicate E.coli 0157 in farm animals, reducing the chance
of humans becoming infected with the bug through the food chain.
CBS 48 Hours, April 9, 2003
Silent Killers: Scary Superbugs
Two years ago, Bobbie Mackeon got a paper cut. She thought it was no big
deal. But it got infected. Bobbie, a nurse practitioner, spoke with the doctors at
her hospital, and they all figured an antibiotic would take care of it. It
didnt. Nor did the next two antibiotics she tried. The bug that was in there
was eating these antibiotics for breakfast, she says.
CBS 48 Hours, April 9, 2003
Silent Killers: Fantastic Phages?
After breaking his foot five years ago, Toronto bass player Alfred Gertler
got an infection that antibiotics couldnt cure. Doctors told him he might have to
have his foot amputated. But then he read about a radically different way to treat
infections. The treatment was in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, at the Eliava
Institute in Tbilisi. It was very strange. But it seemed like a
lifeline, he says. So he went. They had no heat, no electrical power, no water
for much of the day, says Gertler. What Eliava did have was treatment that
worked. They poured an ointment in the wound and within three days, the infection was
JAMA, December 24, 2003, January 29, 2004
Set a Microbe
to Kill a Microbe
My father requested the phage and administered it to my mother. She became
afebrile in about 48 hours and was cured. The concept is fairly simple: a bacteriophage
virus targets specific bacteria, usually a specific bacteria strain, ignoring other
bacteria, as well as non-bacteria cells.
Wired News, January 2003
West Recruits Bacteria Assassins
Bacteria-eating viruses could be the answer to antibiotic resistance, and the first
treatment to use the therapy could be available by 2004. "They basically don't
cut off feet because of diabetic ulcers in Georgia because their staph phage works so
well," said Elizabeth Kutter, referring to the fact that such infections often lead
to amputations in the West. Kutter is the director bacteriophage research at Evergreen
State College in Olympia, Washington.
LATimes.com, April 22, 2002
Virus as a Tool of Medicine
They are many times smaller than a bacterium, yet can easily reduce one to
Apples for Health, March 23, 2001
Viruses May Be Answer To Resistant Germs
A new approach for killing streptococci bacteria may offer promise for combating
many bacteria, including those which have developed antibiotic resistance.
WebMD, March 21, 2001
An Alternative to Antibiotics
While antibiotics still remain the mainstay for treating bacterial infections,
researchers may have found a whole new way of treating infections. And this is very good
news, as many strains of bacteria have become increasingly resistant to the antibiotics
that used to wipe them out.
Lancet, October 21, 2000
PHAGE THERAPYADVANTAGES OVER ANTIBIOTICS?
As antibiotic-resistant bacteria continue to threaten standard therapies against bacterial
infections, a new breed of antimicrobials may, according to this story, be on the horizon.
The story says that many researchers believe that bacteriophagesviruses that only
infect bacteriaare a promising potential therapy for bacterial disease treatment.
Sunday Magazine, Sunday, November 26, 2000
Cocktail that Cures
How far away are we from a return to the time die from sore throats?
Smithsonian Magazine, October, 2000
Return of the
Modern medicine could be set back to its pre-antibiotic days, Alexander
Sulakvelidze, who runs the lab, says from behind a lab bench piled high with agar dishes
of bacteria. In 1998 the professor of medicine cofounded a Baltimore company called
Intralytix to manufacture phages. All the advances that we take such pride in, from
transplants to chemotherapy, he says, may become impossible when bacteria
develop resistance to antibiotics.
Science News Online, June 3, 2000
Viruses that Slay Bacteria Draw New Interest
"You can be dead within 24 hours," says Paul A. Gulig of the University
of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. Seeking a treatment that works faster than
antibiotics do, he and his colleagues recently isolated a bacteria-killing virus, or
bacteriophage, that targets V. vulnificus and can prevent the deaths of mice infected with
New York Times, February 6, 2000
A Stalinist Antibiotic Alternative
''I'm convinced that bacteriophages will work,'' says Carl Merril, chief of the
biochemical genetics laboratory at the National Institutes of Health. ''But there's the
psychological obstacle of a new treatment coming from the former Soviet Union. It's
unusual, to say the least.''
Scoop News, NZ, 21 October, 1999
Where Communism Succeeded
The programme revealed that we - ie humankind - had discovered a superior cure
(to antibiotics) for bacterial infections around the same time that penicillin was being
discovered. The research programme on bacteriophages (phages for short) began in Stalin's
Georgia in the 1930s. To this day, our knowledge of each of the many thousands of phage
viruses remains concentrated in a now rundown laboratory in Tbilisi, Georgia. The arrival
of capitalism in the Caucuses threatens a repository of knowledge, built up over 50 years,
that could prevent the superbug pandemic that threatens us all next century.
Biotecnology and Development Monitor, September 1999
An alternative to antibiotics?
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics has become a serious medical problem.
Treatment with bacteriophages might pose an effective alternative that has long been known
but has been ignored outside the former Soviet Union. The development of phage therapies
exemplifies positive as well as negative implications for scientific development that is
restricted in its access to the mainstream, English-language dominated scientific
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 1996
Fleas ... ad infinitum: Therapeutic bacteriophage redux
Joshua Lederberg, a Nobel laureate and leading authority on infectious diseases, helped
rekindle U.S. interest in phages. In 1996, he wrote a commentary in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences urging, in light of rising resistance to antibiotics, a
renaissance of study of bacteriophages.
Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington, USA
Bacteria resistant to most or all available antibiotics are causing increasingly serious
problems, raising widespread fears of returning to a pre-antibiotic era of untreatable
infections and epidemics. Despite intensive work by drug companies, no new classes of
antibiotics have been found in the last 30 years. There are hopes that the newfound
ability to sequence entire microbial genomes and to determine the molecular bases of
pathogenicity will open new avenues for treating infectious disease, but other approaches
are also being sought with increasing fervor. One result is a renewed interest in the
possibilities of bacteriophage therapy -- the harnessing of a specific kind of viruses
that attack only bacteria to kill pathogenic microorganisms.