A new paper by Alexander Meeske and colleagues at Rockefeller University shows that CRISPR-Cas13, poorly understood compared to other CRISPR-Cas systems, leads to host cell growth inhibition (through degradation of both phage and host RNA) in the presence of phage. This way, the cell can defend against phages without selecting for CRISPR-resistant mutant phages. See also this commentary on the paper by Simon Jackson and Peter Fineran.
A new paper by Bryan Hsu and colleagues at Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital showed (in the mouse gut) that introducing phages led to predictable shifts in the targeted population, but also had “cascading effects” on non-phage-susceptible bacteria. Also, phage-induced shifts led to changes in the metabolome, including changing neurotransmitter levels, etc.
Virome datasets are being generated at unprecedented rates, but new data are rarely cross-compared, which leads to virus novelty being inflated in new datasets and many viral sequences going undetected. A new preprint by Ann Gregory and colleagues at Ohio State University discusses a new human gut virome database they built to aggregate findings into a central database.
An interesting reflection by Prof. Marc Bonten of UMC Utrecht on the current impasse in the Netherlands when it comes to the need for phage clinical trials, and on UMCU’s recent discussions with national health authorities on the matter.
Rick Bright, Director of BARDA, shared his opinion on how the recent bankruptcy of Achaogen (a BARDA-funded biotech that recently brought an antibiotic to market, then saw such poor sales that it closed its doors) proves that the marketing paradigm for new antimicrobials needs to be completely reevaluated. He says BARDA “cannot continue to provide non-dilutive investment, only to have companies collapse and their newly minted antibiotics shelved or lost completely.” He’s optimistic that new business models and collaboration through public-private partnerships (like CARB-X) could help.
PhagePro is looking for a Principal Scientist to carry forth our research for our phage-based cholera intervention as we scale-up our studies in preparation for clinical trials. We are a flat and dynamic organization, and the Principal Scientist is crucial to our success in the field. The position is for one year, and it is located at PhagePro’s lab space at the Tufts Launchpad in Boston, MA.
Intralytix is currently seeking a Research Scientist to work at our laboratories in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. The successful candidate will participate in various research projects focused on the development of bacteriophage based products for food safety and / or human health applications.
Does anyone have access to phages infecting Propionibacterium freudenreichii? I’m trying to isolate my own, but in the meantime I’d like to start testing defence systems with any phage I can get. Please email me at [email protected]!
Looking for #phage against #Legionella, in anticipation of an urgent request for #Phagetherapy for a patient in #HongKong whose family reached out @IPATH. If you have #bacteriophage against any Legionella strains, please DM me on Twitter at @chngin_the_wrld.
Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton issued an order to the Mount Carmel Grove City hospital on May 31 to take immediate action to contain an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. If anyone knows of anyone working with Legionella phages, please get in touch with Clark Tibbs at [email protected].
Looking for a lytic #phage capable of infecting Vibrio natrigens (for lab research, not therapy) - can anyone help? Needs to infect well in liquid culture, preferably a myovirus but any dsDNA phage will work. Please message me on Twitter at @virome_girl.
The Queen Astrid Military Hospital in Brussels, Belgium (QAMH) has been treating patients with phages since 2007 (under the Declaration of Helsinki). Until recently, most of these patients came from the QAMH itself (mostly from the burn unit). However, between April 2013 and April 2018, they’ve seen a huge upswing in phage therapy requests from not just outside the hospital, but outside the country.
Time period analyzed: April 2013-April 2018
Requests for phage therapy: 260
Patients treated with phages: 15
Family members of patients: 3%
Through e-mail, post, or telephone. Now, there’s a dedicated email address for phage requests: [email protected]
The Netherlands: 67%
Mean age: 57.9 years
Most prevalent age group: 60+ years (61% of patients)
Multidrug-resistant (MDR): resistant to at least one agent in three antimicrobial categories
Extensively drug-resistant (XDR): susceptible to only one or two antimicrobial categories
Pandrug-resistant (PDR): resistant to all agents in all antimicrobial categories
11 requests were for non-bacterial or non-infectious ailments like arthritis, interstitial cystitis, cirrhosis, collage colitis, and irritable bowel disease
P. aeruginosa: 7% MDR, 11% XDR, 7% PDR
E. coli: 47% MDR, 5% XDR, 0% PDR
S. aureus: 21% MDR, 0% XDR, 0% PDR
Under the Declaration of Helsinki, patients should only receive unproven therapies if standard ones are ineffective, meaning most of these patients should not receive phage therapy. The patients described in this report were treated from 2013-2018, when the QAMH operated under the Declaration of Helsinki, and thus these patients were not eligible for phage therapy.
15 of the 260 people (6%) who put in requests received phage therapy.
15 patients received phage therapy
Most were referred to other phage therapy centers.
One case was published in 2017. The remaining cases will be published soon (grouped according to medical indications, and authored by the treating physicians).
Sneak preview: no serious adverse events were observed, and in general, phage therapy seemed helpful.
Yes, with the exception of one case.
The authors suggest that they may have not been able to (it’s possible that treating physicians may not have provided the required health information for their patients due to a lack of confidence in phage therapy).
The authors attribute the recent upswing to the airing of two prime-time phage therapy documentaries in the Netherlands in 2017.
There was also another one in 2019!
Djebara, S., Maussen, C., De Vos, D., Merabishvili, M., Damanet, B., Pang, K. W., … & Pirnay, J. P. (2019). Processing Phage Therapy Requests in a Brussels Military Hospital: Lessons Identified. Viruses, 11(3), 265. DOI: 10.3390/v11030265 | Link
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