Bacteriophage Treatment for Diseases in
Antibiotics provide a technique to reduce
the incidence of disease in animals. However, the use and overuse of
antibiotics has brought about resistance in certain strains of bacteria.
Therefore, alternative methods have been sought out in order to treat animals
with infection by antibiotic resistant bacteria. Of these methods, bacteriophage
therapy has gained traction.
Phage were discovered in 1915 by
Frederick Twort, and were first used in treatment by Fe?lix d’He?relle.
Although the therapy showed promise, inadequate commercial implementation and
experimentation barred phage therapy an opportunity for success. A recent
resurgence in interest of phage therapy began in the 1980s, leading to current
Bacteriophage are composed of nucleic
acid, single or double stranded DNA or RNA, enclosed in a capsid. They may also
contain a tail, which helps in interaction between phage and bacteria.
Bacteriophage can be either icosahedral or filamentous and have either lytic or
lysogenic reproductive cycles. Lytic phage hi-jack the cell’s machinery for
reproduction then lyse the cell to release its progeny. Lysogenic bacteriophage
are considered temperate and incorporate their nucleic acid into the host
chromosome for reproduction. Consequently, lysogenic phage do not lyse their
Phage therapy is of interest because of
its high precision and ability to selectively treat certain pathogenic
bacteria. The intricate relationship between bacteriophage and bacteria provides
the specificity required for this precision. Moreover, phage treatment is
promising because of its potential safety. Because bacteriophage attack only
prokaryotic cells, the eukaryotic cells in animals will be largely unharmed. Furthermore,
the ubiquity of phage is favorable. This is not to say there aren’t challenges
of phage therapy. When cells are lysed endotoxin is released which could lead
to difficulties in systems. Phage are also required in quantities that would be
detrimental to bacterial colonies, which could be considered an obstacle in
application. Obviously, other advantages and disadvantages exist in phage
Overall phage therapy could be auspicious
in the treatment of bacterial infection.