Phage Therapy

Funded by C4CF, CFSA and The Hospital Research Foundation, the Adelaide ENT Research group at the Basil Hetzel Institute are aiming to eliminate drug resistant bacteria in CF using bacteriophage. Bacteriophage is a virus that can eliminate very specific bacteria while leaving the patient and good bacteria unharmed. A key cause of early death of people with CF is the inability to control and eliminate drug resistant, deadly, bacteria in the lungs. The bacteria often hide within the sinus cavities where they re-infect both sinuses and lungs, resulting in chronically relapsing infections. This research will target the bacteria hiding within those sinus cavities.  

Described as a ‘game changer’ for the CF community, Lead Researcher Professor P.J. Wormald expects to see a phase 1 clinical trial in the second half of 2019.

Senior Scientist Associate Professor Sarah Vreugde from the ENT Research Group said, “Progress has been good, we have several people working on defining the best dosage of the different active ingredients including bacteriophage and the pharmaceutical products needed to stabilise the active ingredients and improve their local action.  We are also working on optimising the delivery of the medication to the site of infection/inflammation.  Our aim is to develop a product that is very effective locally at the site where it’s needed without having the nasty side effects of systemic (oral or IV) antibiotics. We strongly believe and have great preliminary data showing that the way we are going will do that. Given that nobody has ever developed anything similar, the optimisation and validation step is critically important and we are actively working on this”.

Professor Wormald said ‘My team is very excited about new research that shows (in the laboratory setting) we are able to almost completely eliminate multi-drug resistant staphylococcus bacteria with a new bacteriophage-based therapy whereas this was not possible with currently available antibiotics. This research has great potential to be of significant benefit to the cystic fibrosis patient group who are constantly battling very difficult to treat infections. We envisage a phase 1 clinical trial in the second half of 2019.”

We look forward to keeping you updated as this research progresses.

Check out this video to learn more about bacteriophages and the science behind this incredible research.