Therapeutic and prophylactic applications of bacteriophage components in modern medicine

Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014 Jan 1;4(1):a012518. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a012518.


As the interactions of phage with mammalian innate and adaptive immune systems are better delineated and with our ability to recognize and eliminate toxins and other potentially harmful phage gene products, the potential of phage therapies is now being realized. Early efforts to use phage therapeutically were hampered by inadequate phage purification and limited knowledge of phage-bacterial and phage-human relations. However, although use of phage as an antibacterial therapy in countries that require controlled clinical studies has been hampered by the high costs of patient trials, their use as vaccines and the use of phage components such as lysolytic enzymes or lysozymes has progressed to the point of commercial applications. Recent studies concerning the intimate associations between mammalian hosts and bacterial and phage microbiomes should hasten this progress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / prevention & control
  • Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Bacteriophages* / immunology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Muramidase / therapeutic use
  • Vaccines


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Vaccines
  • Muramidase