Bacteriophages and Their Immunological Applications against Infectious Threats

J Immunol Res. 2017;2017:3780697. doi: 10.1155/2017/3780697. Epub 2017 Apr 16.


Bacteriophage therapy dates back almost a century, but the discovery of antibiotics led to a rapid decline in the interests and investments within this field of research. Recently, the novel threat of multidrug-resistant bacteria highlighted the alarming drop in research and development of new antibiotics: 16 molecules were discovered during 1983-87, 10 new therapeutics during the nineties, and only 5 between 2003 and 2007. Phages are therefore being reconsidered as alternative therapeutics. Phage display technique has proved to be extremely promising for the identification of effective antibodies directed against pathogens, as well as for vaccine development. At the same time, conventional phage therapy uses lytic bacteriophages for treatment of infections and recent clinical trials have shown great potential. Moreover, several other approaches have been developed in vitro and in vivo using phage-derived proteins as antibacterial agents. Finally, their use has also been widely considered for public health surveillance, as biosensor phages can be used to detect food and water contaminations and prevent bacterial epidemics. These novel approaches strongly promote the idea that phages and their proteins can be exploited as an effective weapon in the near future, especially in a world which is on the brink of a "postantibiotic era."

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / immunology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Bacterial Infections / immunology
  • Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Bacterial Infections / therapy*
  • Bacteriophages* / immunology
  • Bacteriophages* / physiology
  • Biological Therapy / methods
  • Cell Surface Display Techniques
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Phage Therapy*
  • Viral Proteins / therapeutic use


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Viral Proteins