In the event of use of phage therapy for patients who are unresponsive to antibiotics, it implies severity of condition of patients and time is of utmost importance. But, on an average, it takes more than a month for labs to generate therapeutic phages.
This is because of lack of a regulated phage purification process for research labs. This is despite the fact that phage therapy uses viruses to kill disease causing bacteria has been in use for over a century.
For a solution to this, San Diego State University lab has developed standardized guidelines to streamline the process using currently used lab equipment, and also shorten it by two to three weeks. The process cuts the processing time by half, for clinicians around the country that use phage therapeutics developed by the university for compassionate use.
Guidelines to help for seriously ill Patients
“Because many patients have very little time, speed is of utmost importance and the protocol would make a difference. This is because one cycle can produce enough doses to treat a patient for months,” stated one of the researchers at SDSU involved in the study.
The protocol integrates traditional techniques with modern filtration technology for higher phage yields, and decrease endotoxin levels compared to earlier methods.
Meanwhile, typical patients who are administered phage therapy are the ones with multi-drug resistant bacteria – a common adverse effect of overusing antibiotics. Literally meaning ‘bacteria eater’, Phage is a short form of bacteriophage. Phage only attacks bacteria, not people, and are found in water, soil, and sewage, which requires them to be purified before use.
In the U.S., and Europe phage therapy is not authorized, with use limited on a case-by-case basis maintaining compassion.