Friday, April 10, 2009

Phage Therapy

I just read an interesting article on Phage therapy. It is a way to naturally heal antibiotic resistant infections. The story follows a doctor in the US who searched for a way to help a patient and came across this idea used in Eastern Europe since the 1920’s. It had been used here in the states until the 40’s when the more convenient penicillin took over.

The phages virus is the most abundant naturally occurring organisms on earth. They can be found virtually everywhere-in soil, drinking water, sewage and in our bodies. As living organisms, phages are constantly changing and adapting in tandem with their host bacteria to kill them more effectively. Phage therapy could therefore eliminate the vicious cycle in which bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, necessitating the development of new, even more powerful drugs, at which point the process begins all over again.

The article goes to Georgia in Eastern Europe and talks about the Institute of Bacteriophage, Microbiology, and Virology, where Phages as a medicine is trusted like aspirin. Since the founding of the facility they have successfully treated millions of patients and have had over 100 research abstracts at international conferences attesting to its clinical value.

Each prescription produced at the facility was custom made for each patient.
Phages are species-specific—-different strains attack different bacteria. Since some wounds can harbor hundreds of different types of bacteria, physicians there first culture a tissue sample of the infection to determine its precise bacterial composition. The next step is to brew a custom cocktail of sometimes hundreds of phages selected from the institute's vast library of thousands. This whole process can take up to four days. The treatment—often administered through an IV bag that drips phage liquid directly into patients' wounds for 24 hours a day—can last up to two weeks.

The problem in the states now is strict, expensive fda standard for drug approval. And since each prescription is tailor made of hundreds of different species of the phage bacteria, out of thousands of strains, it would be extremely costly and almost impossible to have the hundreds of thousands of different combinations of prescriptions approved.
The other thing the FDA is worried about is that the virus is living and is constantly changing and evolving. This leaves the FDA with a big unknown of what could happen.

But the odd thing is that today in the US the phage virus has been approved for use, just not for humans as a drug. It has been approved for deli meats. You read that correctly. The article points out that Phage therapy is used on deli meats to keep them safe from bacterial contamination. The difference is merely technical, spraying a phage on a deli meat is called a food additive, while using it to heal people, is called a drug.

This last part is the funniest part for me. Its funny how semantics is what prevents people in the US to use the most effective drugs. I wonder what it would be called if I put the deli meat on my leg infection, food additive or drug? If we ingest the food additive it must be safe right? Well not necessarily. One of my first posts I talked about how shady the FDA is when I saw them answering questions on capitol hill. They were talking about how they allow beef to be sprayed with the same carbon monoxide that exits a cars exhaust. The same stuff that can kill you if you lock yourself in the garage and turn the engine on, is ok when its sprayed on our beef. But they admitted the don’t test it because semantically it falls in a category where no testing is required by law.

Check out the full article:
http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2009-03/next-phage

5 comments:

Spokesthingy said...

Here is a comment from me. It is a summary of a presentation I give - you can find me at http://bullshitcitynorth.blogspot.com:

Superbugs, Phage Therapy: Getting Beyond Bullshit und Ueberbullshit!

The following headlines might have appeared in Canada:

1917: Canadian microbiologist, Felix d'Herelle, discovers natural nanotechnology, bacteriophage therapy, that can cure and prevent superbug infections and foodborne bacterial disease.

2008: Canadians continue to suffer and die unnecssarily from superbug infections and foodborne disease because Canada is too venal to approve and use natural nanotchnology, bacteriophage therapy, discovered by Canadian microbiologist, Felix d'Herelle in 1917.

While 8000 to 12000 Canadians are dying from antibiotic-resistant superbug infections annually the joke is on us, as some countries still practice technology discovered by the Canadian, Felix d'Herelle in 1917. Phage therapy uses highly specific viruses, bacteriophages, which are harmless for humans, to treat bacterial infections. Phage therapy is not currently approved or practised in Canada. According to a letter signed by a former federal health minister it can be made available legally to Canadians under the Special Access Program of our Food & Drugs Act! A discussion of phage therapy is currently very timely because of the release of the Canadian film: Killer Cure: The Amazing Adventures of Bacteriophage and the book by Thomas Haeusler entitled, Viruses vs. Superbugs, a solution to the antibiotics crisis? ( see http://www.bacteriophagetherapy.info ). Both references are available at Ottawa libraries.
This file has dramatically changed because the US Food and Drug Administration has amended the US food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of a bacteriophages on ready-to-eat meat against Listeria monocytogenes (see http://www.fda.gov/OHRMS/DOCKETS/98fr/02f-0316-nfr0001.pdf ). Also http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/opabacqa.html . The idea that ready-to-eat meat can be treated if contaminated with Listeria bacteria while a doctor could not get a pharmaceutical grade phage therapy product when faced with a patient suffering listeriosis strikes this author as absurd especially considering the recent massive recall of ready-to-eat meat in Canada due to contamination with listeria. Information is available on phage therapy treatment in Georgia , Europe ( http://www.phagetherapycenter.com ), or Poland - ( http://www.aite.wroclaw.pl/phages/phages.html ) or more recently at the Wound Care Center, Lubbock, Texas ( http://www.woundcarecenter.net/ ) .
Canada should establish 'The Superbug Victim Felix d'Herelle Memorial Center for Experimental Phage Therapy' to provide phage therapy to patients when antibiotics fail or when patients are allergic to antibiotics.

Rodolfo Berretti said...

please go to :www.phagetherapylightandshade.blogspot.com

Rodolfo Berretti said...
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Rodolfo Berretti said...
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Anonymous said...

China and Russia put the blame on some screwed up experiments of US for the earthquake that happened in Haiti.
Chinese and Russian Military scientists, these reports say, are concurring with Canadian researcher, and former Asia-Pacific Bureau Chief of Forbes Magazine, Benjamin Fulford, who in a very disturbing video released from his Japanese offices to the American public, details how the United States attacked China by the firing of a 90 Million Volt Shockwave from the Americans High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) facilities in Alaska
If we can recollect a previous news when US blamed Russia for the earthquake in Georgio. What do you guys think? Is it really possible to create an earthquake by humans?
I came across this [url=http://universalages.com/hot-news/what-happened-in-haiti-is-it-related-to-haarp/]article about Haiti Earthquake[/url] in some blog it seems very interesting, but conspiracy theories have always been there.