Bacteriophage Therapy

Unexploited opportunities for phage therapy

Bacteriophages (phages) are natural predators of bacteria that specifically parasite bacteria to replicate, and were discovered in the early part of the twentieth century, independently by Twort (1915) and d’Herelle (1917) (Summers, 2005). The ability to kill bacteria was soon therapeutically explored by d’Hérelle and his followers while fighting various bacterial infections around the world, such as the bubonic plague in Southeast Asia, dysentery in France, and cholera in India. Phage therapy was extensively used to treat infectious diseases during World War II too (Summers, 2001). However, insufficient knowledge of phage biology, low quality control of phage preparations and lack of solid scientific evidence of therapeutic successes led to phage failure over the newly discovered antibiotics till the second half of the twentieth century.