Caister Academic Press

Bacteriophages as Drugs: The Pharmacology of Phage Therapy

Stephen T. Abedon
from: Phage Therapy: Current Research and Applications (Edited by: Jan Borysowski, Ryszard Międzybrodzki and Andrzej Górski). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2014)


Pharmacology can be differentiated into two key aspects, pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics. Pharmacodynamics describes a drug's impact on the body while pharmacokinetics describes, instead, the body's impact on drugs. Another way of considering these terms is that pharmacodynamics is a description of both the positive and negative consequences of drugs reaching certain densities in the body while pharmacokinetics is concerned with the ability of drugs to reach and sustain those densities. Bacteriophages, or phages, are the viruses of bacteria. Here I consider the pharmacology of phages as drugs or - as they are applied to treat bacterial infections (phage therapy) - at least as drug-like entities. I suggest that phages, contrasting other narrow-spectrum but chemical antibacterials, possess a unique combination of properties including ease of discovery and laboratory characterization, low toxicity and minimal side effects, and the potential to amplify their numbers in situ. The result of these somewhat un-chemotherapeutic-like aspects can mean that detailed exploration especially of phage therapy pharmacokinetics in many instances may be somewhat superfluous. Nonetheless, an improved pharmacological understanding of phage therapy should allow for more informed development, as well as rational post hoc debugging, of phage therapy experiments and improved phage therapy design read more ...
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