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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2003 Jun;2(6):489-97.

The prospect for bacteriophage therapy in Western medicine.

Author information

  • 1Section on Biochemical Genetics, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA. merrilc@helix.nih.gov

Abstract

Bacteriophage (phage) have been used for clinical applications since their initial discovery at the beginning of the twentieth century. However, they have never been subjected to the scrutiny--in terms of the determination of efficacy and pharmacokinetics of therapeutic agents--that is required in countries that enforce certification for marketed pharmaceuticals. There are a number of historical reasons for this deficiency, including the overshadowing discovery of the antibiotics. Nevertheless, present efforts to develop phage into reliable antibacterial agents have been substantially enhanced by knowledge gained concerning the genetics and physiology of phage in molecular detail during the past 50 years. Such efforts will be of importance given the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

PMID:
12776223
DOI:
10.1038/nrd1111
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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