Title: Bacteriophages, Natural Drugs to Combat Superbugs
Source: ScienceDaily (the source for latest research news)
Date: April 18th, 2017
Summary: In this article, the researchers are trying to use bacteriophages to help fight the bacteria resistant to antibiotic treatment. As bacteria are becoming more resistant to antibiotics, it raises the potential problem of running out of possible antibiotics to use in severe cases. It takes a long time to get a new product to the market. We lack this time. That’s why the researches need new ideas. One of them was to try and use bacteriophage against bacteria inside the host. So far, there are twelve bacterial strains that resistant to antibiotics, collected in the lab. None of the available phages can kill the antibiotic-resistant E. coli, the sequence type 131. The researches acquired bacteriophages from feces of birds and dogs. The researchers believe that those species can carry phages for resistant bacteria. In the lab, mice models are used to mimic how cancer patients develop life-threatening infections as the disease progresses. When the immune system is compromised, and cannot detect antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it is believed that phages can step in and deal with them. The question to further research here, is the phage specificity to certain bacteria only and the host’s immune system sometimes can neutralize phage’s activity.
Connections: The material about bacteriophages and their lifestyles, lytic (virulent) and lysogenic (temperate) replication cycles was covered in the lectures. It is nice to read in depth about the material that you already learned and know.
Critical Analysis: I’ve chose the article because it was interesting to find out how this research was implemented. The article is well-written and provide good background information, together with present experiments with ideas for the future research. Of course, some time is needed to put it all together and conduct more experiments until the phage will be able to work inside the immunocompromised host.
Question: What are your thoughts on “phage’ treatment? What do you think will happen to the immunocompromised host when the phage will destroy bacteria, and all toxins would be released? For some reason, I thought about this right after reading this material.