Use of Customized Bacteriophages in the Treatment of Chronic Nonhealing Wounds: A Prospective Study

Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2021 Mar;20(1):37-46. doi: 10.1177/1534734619881076. Epub 2019 Nov 22.


Nonhealing ulcers are a great challenge to surgeons as they may occasionally culminate in amputation of the affected part. Mostly nonhealing of wounds results due to infection by antibiotic-resistant bacteria and subsequent biofilm formation. However, customized bacteriophage therapy may take care of both of the above-mentioned hurdles. A total of 48 study subjects of age group 12 to 70 years, having minimum one eligible full-thickness wound and failed to heal in 6-week duration with conventional therapy, were included in this exploratory prospective study. Patients with systemic diseases, that is, burn, malignancy, dermatological disorders, and ulcers with leprosy or tuberculosis, were excluded. However, subjects having diabetes and hypertension were included in the study. The customized monophage for single bacterial infection and cocktail of phages specific to 2 or more infecting bacteria were applied on an alternate day over the wound surface. A total of 5 to 7 applications were made till the wound became free of infecting bacteria. The study period extended from August 2018 to May 2019. The study subjects were followed for 3 months since the start of therapy. A cure rate of 81.2% could be obtained, of which 90.5% (19/21) patients were nondiabetic and 74.1% (20/27) diabetic. The wounds infected with Klebsiella pneumoniae were observed with relatively delayed healing. Post phage therapy, the mean hemoglobin level and percentage of lymphocytes increased significantly. The customized local phage therapy is very promising in nonhealing ulcers.

Keywords: bacteriophage; biofilm; chronic wound; diabetes; healing.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bacteriophages*
  • Burns*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae
  • Middle Aged
  • Phage Therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Young Adult