One of the most under researched medical fields in the twentieth century through to the present day is phage therapy. What is phage therapy? Phage is short for bacteriophage' which is a virus that only infects bacteria (Ransford 2008). Increasing antibiotic resistance among several dangerous infectious bacteria is slowly bringing the practicality and necessity of using phage therapy into the modern view (Thiel 2004). According to an FDC report originally published in 2000 and recently updated in March of 2009, Drug-resistant pathogens are a growing menace to all people, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic background. (FDA 2000)
The FDA lists several clinically important microbes such as Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella, and Klebsiella as being increasingly drug resistant, with penicillin becoming particularly increasingly ineffective at combating S. pneumoniae and, notably, nearly completely ineffective at treating S. aureus. Also, many of these bacteria are increasingly resistant to other common antibiotics along with bacteria that cause tuberculosis, gonorrhea, HIV, yeast infections, and malaria. With increasing risk, as in dangerous bacterial infections normally found in hospital settings spreading to the community, as well as the higher cost of treatment and a reduction in the number of available solutions, the threat of antibiotic resistant microbes has come to the forefront of medical research and technology. (FDA 2000) With traditionally developed antibiotics becoming less and less effective, such as resistance by Enterococcus faecium to Avantis' Synercid before it was released to the market, phage therapy is more viable than ever before. (Thiel 2004)
[...] (McAuliffe et al 2007, Time 1938) D'Herelle and Georgian physician George Eliava founded the World Center of Phage Research and Phage Therapy in 1923 during the reign of Stalin in the Soviet Union in Tbilisi, Georgia. (Eliava Institute 2009) In the 1930s, Albert Paul Krueger, an American doctor at the Rockefeller Institute and later the University of California, determined viruses to be nonliving proteins based on his study of bacteriophages and subjecting them to extreme heat and poisonous chemicals and observing activation and inactivations similar to patterns of a protein and enzyme combination, and later experiments showed phages reproduction without the presence of bacteria in bacterial secretions, similar to the protein trypsinogen when added to trypsin. [...]
[...] To bring the issue of phage therapy into the forefront of medical discussion and into the public eye would be to do an enormous favor to ourselves as members of the human race. Awareness of this nearly miracle cure can promote funding which can lead to the exceptional developments of the benefits phages have to offer. Therefore, as we can see from this discussion, bacteriophages and phage therapy can prove to be among the most important developments in the medical field. [...]
[...] The increasing developments to enhance the distribution, application, and feasibility of employing phage therapy are due to an increased interest among the medical community. It is also interesting to note that human use of bacteriophages is not a new development, as “Bacteriophages have been used for more than a century for (unconventional) therapy of bacterial infections, for half a century as tools in genetic research, for 2 decades as tools for discovery of specific target-binding proteins, and for nearly a decade as tools for vaccination or as gene delivery vehicles.” (Yacoby et al 2006) Phages are easily found in sewage and corpses and can be freeze- dried to be administered in pill form. [...]
[...] "The Use of Bacteriophages Against Infection." Phage Therapy Center May 2009
[...] Phage display helps in developing drugs, pharmacology, immunology and plant science by allowing for the retrieval and replication of foreign genes; phages can be used to administer DNA vaccines, although this process is in the early stages; phages can detect pathogens by recognizing and binding to host cells; phage lysins, which are the enzymes that break down the cell wall of the bacterial host, can be gathered and use to damage bacteria. (McAuliffe et al 2007) There are four stages of development in a bacteriophage: the first, adsorbability, is the phage's recognition of a bacteria and its attachment to it. [...]
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