Phage Therapy: The Western Perspective
from: Bacteriophage: Genetics and Molecular Biology (Edited by: Stephen Mc Grath and Douwe van Sinderen). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2007)
Phage therapy has a long and colourful history. Phages have been explored as means to eliminate pathogens like Campylobacter in raw food and Listeria in fresh food or to reduce food spoilage bacteria. In agricultural practice phages were used to fight pathogens like Campylobacter , Escherichia and Salmonella in farm animals, Lactococcus and Vibrio pathogens in fish from aquaculture and Erwinia and Xanthomonas in plants of agricultural importance. The oldest use was, however, in human medicine. Phages were used against diarrheal diseases caused by E. coli, Shigella or Vibrio and against wound infections caused by facultative pathogens of the skin like staphylococci and streptococci. Phage therapy therefore looks like a platform technology. This impression is reinforced by recent extension of the phage therapy approach to systemic and even intracellular infections and the addition of non-replicating phage and isolated phage enzymes like lysins to the antimicrobial arsenal. However, despite some hope and hype in recent editorials on phage therapy, the current review documents that definitive proof for the efficiency of these phage approaches in the field or the hospital is only provided in a few cases read more ...