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http://academic.evergreen.edu/projects/phage/

BACTERIOPHAGES
-- = viruses that infect bacteria
--ancient, separated wayyyy back in the evolutionary tree
--once inside a bacterium the phage quickly takes over nuclear machinery
--three main families: myovirus (with tail fibers that bind), siphovirus (with a "straw") and podovirus (I guess this one has a foot??)
--T4 coliphage is most used for research, getting enzymes, Kutter calls it "my phage"
--there are 10 to the 31 phages on earth (more than a nonillion)
--phages are the most abundant entity on earth
--wounds and enteric bacteria are full of phages
--1/4 of bacteria in the ocean are infected with phages
--"blooms" of bacteria in the ocean cause incredible increases in the phage numbers
--phages help maintain microbial balance in ocean and in organisms
--Kutter says they are "living" but not "organisms"
--the 1st research was at the Pasteur Institute in France

PHAGE THERAPY
--a local, self-replicating, evolving, anti-infection treatment
--could replace antibiotics, especially for microbes that are antibiotic resistant (MRSA, VRA)
--phages lyse 95% of staphylococcus, there is no resistance
--phages mutate along with bacteria so as the bacteria try to become resistant, the phages keep up
--the soviets used 2 tons/day of phage in wartimes, and you know they don't waste money
--cystic fibrosis patients usu have anaerobic pseudomonas, could be greatly helped via phages
--27% of infant diarrhea is due to enteric bacteria
--it's cheap
--biggest problem is isolating the phage you want
--collect fluid with phage in it (effluent)
--add bacteria of the sort you'd like phage specific for
--production could be a cottage industry
--Betty suggested using hospital effluent to isolate phages
--existing treatments: timed release phage patches "phage bioderm" put directly on infected flesh
--wound treatment: debridement, regular sonic spraying of phage -->amazing wound healing
--pyophage: generic cocktail of phages from staph, strep, E. coli, pseudomonas and proteus

WHO IS DOING RESEARCH AND THERAPY
--Phage Biotics Foundation
--Del Mar labs in Ca has been doing phage therapy on animals for over 40 years with excellent success, the FDA doesn't allow it for humans
--1943, Rene Dubos did research injecting 10 to 7th - 10 to 9th power phages into mouse peritoneium, phages were rapidly cleared from blood, then injected same mice with shigella to the brain. 46/64 phage treated mice survived. 3/84 non-phage treated mice survived.
--in the Republic of Georgia since the dissolution of the USSR, phage research and use in medical practice is strong and well supported
--Stalin put one of the earliest phage researchers to death
--1948 Gary Schoolnik, Stanford, saved mom from typhoid
--if a person has a chronic infection, esp nosocomial, and is threatened with loss of a limb, I will recommend that they seek phage treatment outside US rather than let docs chop
--you must have money to travel to get this therapy
--hospital in Gori (Republic of Georgia) under Gvasalia: where to go for surgical infection
--Genesis outpatient clinic in Georgia uses phages as protocol for everything from tonsilitis to diarrhea
--Poland -- Hirzfield Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy--they're doing it too

HOST IMMUNE RESPONSE TO PHAGES
--11% of people have antibodies to phage with no phage therapy
--with S. aureus infection (this bacterium lives in the nose of 25% of healthy people), 23% have antibodies before phage treatment, 54% of antibodies after phage treatment
--if antibody levels (to phage) are very high, phage treatment is useless

SUGGESTED READING
Viruses vs Superbugs by Hausler
The Killers Within
Bacteriophages by Kutter, you can get chapters in pdf form from her on request
1996 Discover article


(Notes from a 6/2/08 lecture by Elizabeth Kutter (Betty) who has studied bacteriophages since 1972 at Evergreen University. )

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