by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  March 14, 2017 at 2:30 PM Health Watch
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes progressive lung infections.
  • Antibiotics used in the treatment are found to develop resistance to infections.
  • Phage therapy offers alternative treatment options for cystic fibrosis.

Phage Therapy Offers Treatment for Cystic Fibrosis Lung Infections
A phage is a virus that is capable of killing the bacteria, otherwise they are usually harmless. A research team from the University of Liverpool has shown that phage therapy could be a safe and effective alternative to antibiotics for treating Cystic fibrosis lung infections.

Cystic fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease which causes persistent lung infections. It is found to affect the lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, sinus and sex organs.

Chronic lung infections are caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. The infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat because of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Due to the limited treatment options that are available, Cystic fibrosis infections can be treated using Phage therapy.

The research team has found phage therapy to be effective in treating chronic respiratory tract infections caused by multi-drug resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

The World Health Organization has recently identified Pseudomonas aeruginosa to be one of the key pathogens against which there is a need to develop new therapies.

The phages were found to be capable of killing the bacteria in long-term infected lungs, especially in people who have inherited Cystic fibrosis. This is used for the treatment of life-threatening infections.

Professor Aras Kadioglu, from the University's Institute of Infection and Global Health, said, "Given the increasing problems caused by bacteria that are resistant to treatment with antibiotics, there is an urgent need to develop new approaches. We have shown that phage therapy has the potential to offer a safe and effective alternative for the treatment of such persistent bacterial infections."

"Cystic Fibrosis patients face the prospect of life-long treatment with antibiotics, which often prove ineffective and can have side effects, especially when used for long periods. Hence phage therapy could be a particularly valuable addition to the treatment of chronic lung infections in these patients," added, Professor Craig Winstanley.

According to a recent review from the UK Government on Antimicrobial Resistance by Jim O'Neil , the need of phage therapy to be a potential alternative to antibiotics for treatment of AMR infections. The study also provides valuable evidence for phage therapy.

Advantages of Phage Therapy
  • Targets only harmful bacteria
  • Less side effects
Phage therapy do not have enough funding as for drug development, because of the lack of pre-clinical efficacy studies.

Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic Fibrosis causes persistent lung infections. It is caused by a defect in the gene that changes the protein and regulates the movement of salt in and out of the cells.

Most of the symptoms and signs of cystic fibrosis would affect the respiratory system and digestive system.

Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis include

Respiratory System
  • Frequent coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Repeated lung infections
Digestive System
  • Poor weight gain
  • Severe constipation
  • Blockage in the intestines
Cystic fibrosis people have a higher amount of salt in their sweat. This helps to diagnose the condition by measuring the amount of the salt (Sodium chloride) in the sweat.

  1. Elaine M Waters, Daniel R Neill, Basak Kaman, Jaspreet S Sahota, Martha R J Clokie, Craig Winstanley, Aras Kadioglu. Phage therapy is highly effective against chronic lung infections with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Thorax, 2017; thoraxjnl-2016-209265 DOI: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2016-209265
  2. Cystic Fibrosis - (
  3. Cystic fibrosis - Symptoms and causes - (

Source: Medindia

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