Viruses that specifically kill bacteria, called bacteriophages, might one day help solve the growing problem of bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotic treatment. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center have determined that phages can effectively reduce bacterial levels and improve the health of mice that are infected with deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacterial ‘superbugs.’ The study appears in Scientific Reports.
Dr. Stegall’s Comments: Bacterial infections are becoming much more common, due to several factors. One is the fact that bacteria can mutated and become resistant to existing antibacterial drugs. Another issue is the overuse of antibacterial soaps and cleansers. Finally, there are a wide variety of immune system imbalances present in patients today, which we certainly see a lot of in oncology due to some of the medications used as well as cancer’s effect on the immune system. If we can improve our understanding of these antibiotic–resistant bacterial “superbugs,” and also reduce triggers, we can surely decrease the amount of infections we are seeing.