Phage Therapy in Bacterial Infections Treatment: One Hundred Years After the Discovery of Bacteriophages

Curr Microbiol. 2017 Feb;74(2):277-283. doi: 10.1007/s00284-016-1166-x. Epub 2016 Nov 28.


The therapeutic use of bacteriophages has seen a renewal of interest blossom in the last few years. This reversion is due to increased difficulties in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Bacterial resistance to antibiotics, a serious problem in contemporary medicine, does not implicate resistance to phage lysis mechanisms. Lytic bacteriophages are able to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria at the end of the phage infection cycle. Thus, the development of phage therapy is potentially a way to improve the treatment of bacterial infections. However, there are antibacterial phage therapy difficulties specified by broadening the knowledge of the phage nature and influence on the host. It has been shown during experiments that both innate and adaptive immunity are involved in the clearance of phages from the body. Immunological reactions against phages are related to the route of administration and may vary depending on the type of bacterial viruses. For that reason, it is very important to test the immunological response of every single phage, particularly if intravenous therapy is being considered. The lack of these data in previous years was one of the reasons for phage therapy abandonment despite its century-long study. Promising results of recent research led us to look forward to a phage therapy that can be applied on a larger scale and subsequently put it into practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Bacteriolysis
  • Bacteriophages / growth & development
  • Bacteriophages / immunology
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Phage Therapy / methods*