We spoke with Sarah Vreugde, Senior Scientist from the ENT Research Group at the Basil Hetzel Institute in Adelaide, who is currently working on the Phage Therapy project. We asked Sarah how the project was progressing and were thrilled to hear her report the team were making good progress, ‘We will be ready to start our preclinical studies by June’ said Sarah.
A major focus of the project is how to best deliver the phage into the sinuses and Sarah believes they have addressed this issue, ‘We have identified a device that is very effective at delivering phage into all corners of the sinuses and we are working together with a team in Sydney to optimise the device to ensure its maximum performance. This is critical to the success of the treatment as there are no such devices available to date and the current way of delivering phage to the sinuses is ineffective and a cause for treatment failure.’
Maximising the impact of the treatment is key to its success and Sarah spoke about how the team has been working to ensure this is the case, ‘We have also completed the formulation; this is the mix of compounds that will be used together with phage to make sure that it stays on the mucosa for a longer time to maximise its therapeutic effect.’
The project is now moving into its next stage, as Sarah explained, ‘Once ethics approval has been granted the next round of experiments are expected to take about three months and will provide a basis for an ethics application for the subsequent clinical trial. We predict we will be able to start with the first clinical trial late this year or at the latest, early next year, depending on ethics committee requirements.’
‘We are very excited about the potential of this new treatment’ said Sarah.