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BMC Microbiol. 2009 Jan 20;9:13. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-9-13.

The effect of bacteriophages T4 and HAP1 on in vitro melanoma migration.

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Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wroclaw, Poland.



The antibacterial activity of bacteriophages has been described rather well. However, knowledge about the direct interactions of bacteriophages with mammalian organisms and their other, i.e. non-antibacterial, activities in mammalian systems is quite scarce. It must be emphasised that bacteriophages are natural parasites of bacteria, which in turn are parasites or symbionts of mammals (including humans). Bacteriophages are constantly present in mammalian bodies and the environment in great amounts. On the other hand, the perspective of the possible use of bacteriophage preparations for antibacterial therapies in cancer patients generates a substantial need to investigate the effects of phages on cancer processes.


In these studies the migration of human and mouse melanoma on fibronectin was inhibited by purified T4 and HAP1 bacteriophage preparations. The migration of human melanoma was also inhibited by the HAP1 phage preparation on matrigel. No response of either melanoma cell line to lipopolysaccharide was observed. Therefore the effect of the phage preparations cannot be attributed to lipopolysaccharide. No differences in the effects of T4 and HAP1 on melanoma migration were observed.


We believe that these observations are of importance for any further attempts to use bacteriophage preparations in antibacterial treatment. The risk of antibiotic-resistant hospital infections strongly affects cancer patients and these results suggest the possibility of beneficial phage treatment. We also believe that they will contribute to the general understanding of bacteriophage biology, as bacteriophages, extremely ubiquitous entities, are in permanent contact with human organisms.

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