The problem of antibiotic resistance is increasing. Superbugs like MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus) are becoming harder and harder to treat as they evolve resistance to the most powerful antibiotics used against them.

Back before the development of antibiotics, scientists were working on a different way to fight bacterial infections. They enlisted viruses that attack only those particular bacteria. Should we go back to this old bacteriophage technology for the future of fighting infection?  

Guests: David Weber, MD, MPH, professor of medicine, pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He’s also associate chief of staff and medical director of infection control at UNC Health Care.

Elizabeth Kutter, PhD, Professor of Biophysics at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington. She heads the Laboratory of Phage Biology there.

Randall Wolcott, MD, CWS, director of the Southwest Regional Wound Care Center in Lubbock, Texas; director of the Medical Biofilm Research Institute in Lubbock, Texas.

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  1. LM
    Reply

    Yes! My question is why haven’t they started manufacturing bacteriophages to fight viruses yet?? Please hurry, antibiotics scare me.

  2. Roy Eskapa. PhD
    Reply

    Does anyone know if bacteriophage therapy can target ‘cell wall deficient’ bacteria … rickettsias, spirochetes, chlamydias, mycoplasmas? Aside from bacteria with cell walls… as is being done in Tiblisi and Eastern Europe …. and how about larger organisms – toxoplasmosis, helminths, etc. Could be the greatest breakthrough since anti-biotics and vaccination … for chronic illness like ‘auto immune disease’ (Crohns, R Arithitis, maybe even neoplasms)…….. ??
    THIS WAS THE MOST FANTASTIC SHOW (your shows are great) – THANKS GRAEDON team!
    Roy Eskapa

  3. LJ
    Reply

    This program couldn’t have come at a better time. I am an independent lay advocate with a new client with an extensive Stage IV ulcer. I appreciated the innovative thinking about these ulcers, especially rethinking the factors that prevent healing, e.g., the “organization” that the various bacterial set up together. I was reminded of lichen, a set of organisms that function uniquely when they are present together in appropriate conditions.
    I am really interested in the treatment of pressure ulcers, one way the US could save a lot of health care dollars, as well as spare people a lot of suffering. If anyone has more information or resources on this topic, please respond. Thanks. Great show as always.

  4. Linda
    Reply

    Would be interested in hearing about how you “up” the immune system in your patients. After hearing the show, are you motivated to explore bacteriophage for your practice?

  5. Linda
    Reply

    Great show! I loved the one comment about signing a waiver with the FDA. Amazing how money trumps access.

  6. Bill R.
    Reply

    I think people need to stop asking questions about phage therapy and study the available literature and then get very angry with politicians and public health authorities for withholding phage therapy when antibiotics fail. We need to send some doctors and scientists for training in Poland and Georgia where they use phage therapy and start making it available. The references/websites below will help those interested get a good ideas of what the scientific history of phage therapy is all about:

    The following headlines might have appeared in Canada:
    1917: Canadian microbiologist, Felix d’Herelle, discovers natural nanotechnology, bacteriophage therapy, that can cure and prevent superbug infections and foodborne bacterial disease.

    2008: Canadians continue to suffer and die unnecessarily from superbug infections and foodborne disease because Canada is too venal to approve and use natural nanotechnology, bacteriophage therapy, discovered by Canadian microbiologist, Felix d’Herelle in 1917.

    While 8000 to 12000 Canadians are dying from antibiotic-resistant superbug infections annually the joke is on us, as some countries still practice technology discovered by the Canadian, Felix d’Herelle in 1917. Phage therapy uses highly specific viruses, bacteriophages, which are harmless for humans, to treat bacterial infections. Phage therapy is not currently approved or practiced in Canada. According to a letter signed by a former federal health minister it can be made available legally to Canadians under the Special Access Program of our Food & Drugs Act!

    A discussion of phage therapy is currently very timely because of the release of the Canadian film: Killer Cure: The Amazing Adventures of Bacteriophage and the book by Thomas Haeusler entitled, Viruses vs. Superbugs, a solution to the antibiotics crisis? Both references are available at Ottawa libraries.
    This file has dramatically changed because the US Food and Drug Administration has amended the US food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of a bacteriophages on ready-to-eat meat against Listeria monocytogenes.

    The idea that ready-to-eat meat can be treated if contaminated with Listeria bacteria while a doctor could not get a pharmaceutical grade phage therapy product when faced with a patient suffering listeriosis strikes this author as absurd especially considering the recent massive recall of ready-to-eat meat in Canada due to contamination with listeria.

    Information is available on phage therapy treatment in Georgia, Europe (http://www.phagetherapycenter.com/pii/PatientServlet?command=static_home), or more recently at the Wound Care Center, Lubbock, Texas (http://southwestwoundcare.com).

    Canada should establish ‘The Superbug Victim Felix d’Herelle Memorial Center for Experimental Phage Therapy’ to provide phage therapy to patients when antibiotics fail or when patients are allergic to antibiotics.

  7. M
    Reply

    I understand that before penicillin, colloidal silver was used to fight bacteria. I have a machine that makes 100 ppm, and the colloidal silver it produces has effectively stopped colds, stomach upsets, etc. (They say colloidal silver not only kills bacteria, but also viruses and protozoa.)
    I was told colloidal silver does not kill the good bacteria (a difference in charges?). But I feel like I may be more susceptible to bugs now. But that may be due to something else unrelated. Is there an expert out there who can assure me that colloidal silver doesn’t kill the good bugs?

  8. Bill
    Reply

    The piece yesterday on the Ft. Pierce, Fl station was intriguing; my Mother contracted MRSA here in Vero Beach after hip surgery and was treated with the most potent AB. It required a line into her heart in order to control the severe potency of the drug. The potential of this protocol has a great opportunity to help numerous infected folks like my Mother, many of whom die from the infection.

  9. Ann
    Reply

    If this would be profitable for the drug companies, I wonder if we would have seen more progress in developing therapies that are FDA approved around this?

  10. Cadlin S.
    Reply

    I’d vote thumbs up a hundred times if I could. Great show, wonderful subject.

  11. ralph
    Reply

    One of the best things you can eat is RAW garlic. I eat a bulb, not a clove, but a bulb of raw garlic every April and October. Each bulb contains about 12 to 15 cloves. I then get a quart of WonTon soup or Hot&Sour soup with a quart of white rice. I break open the bulb, unpeel the clove, chew/grind in my mouth a few times till it burns like hell, then swallow. I then take some white rice with soup and swallow this down. This seems to buffer the “burn” on your tongue from the natural sulfur compounds in the garlic which are very beneficial to you. Your tongue and stomach will burn for a short time due to the high sulfur content but will subside.
    Do this till you get at least 12 cloves down your gut. Yes, 12! I learned this procedure in Survival School with the Marines before I did my two tours in Viet Nam. Chew twice and swallow! The last time I got a flu shot was in November 1970 when I was forced to when I was in the Navy. I “rarely” get a cold or the flu since I have been doing this procedure since 1970.
    It really does work even though my wife and daughters disagree with me. But, how come they get the flu and colds and I don’t!? My colonoscopies have been clean with a pink colon and no polyps. The proctologist is stunned when I tell him what I do.
    Go back to basics, stop feeling sorry for yourself, stop running to the doctor every time you get a pain, and stop using “pills” to cure everything. Pills are nothing more than synthetic natural elements. Who do you think is getting rich over your ignorance? Eat raw onions, the “hotter” the better, more natural sulfur compounds in them.
    My hemorrhoids are gone because of oatmeal and blackstrap molasses. I will swear by these foods forever. Start learning, people, to be more inquisitive in the “old-fashioned” foods like my father used to say. If you disagree, do some research and tell me where I am wrong. RALPH

  12. Larry
    Reply

    Your interview with Dr. Wolcott was excellent. If you do additional programs on wound care I suggest you consider Dr. Roger Huckfeldt of Springfield, MO. as someone to interview.
    Like Dr. Wolcott, I think Dr. Huckfeldt is on the leading edge of technology for wound care.
    Thank you.

  13. Warren
    Reply

    Phage therapy sounds great. But 1) won’t the pharmaceutical companies making antibiotics lobby against it? And 2) won’t bacteria evolve restistance to phages (or even the cell-exploding drug derived from them that Dr Wolcott mentioned) just as they have to antibiotics if we overuse them?
    Great show. I hope Dr Weber’s message about overuse gets through.

  14. R.L. Taylor
    Reply

    I am a 75 year old man
    I contacted MRSA in a hospital was treated with antibiotics. Months later I started running a high fever(104.5) was taken to a critical care unit in the hospital given more antibiotics and told that MRSA was now in my blood stream.
    It was nip and tuck for five and a half weeks receiving the most powerful antibiotic they had that was a last ditch effort to knock out the infection
    I was very lucky to survive.
    I was told that 80% of people who had the infection in their blood died. Why is this bacteriophage not made available to those as a last ditch effort if they sign waivers knowing it is not approved by FDA? Is it better to let people die than at least giving them the option to survive, no matter the risk?

  15. sarah
    Reply

    Does any one treat tooth root infections w/phages in Fla? I’m going to lose an 850.00 root canal because they cant clear up a small infection. I may try acupuncture too. Any one had a similar thing?

  16. jld
    Reply

    I am listening to this program and the fascinating work that is being done in the development of drugs and phages for infection control. An infection involves both exposure to the infectious agent AND patient susceptibility to it. None of your guests have said anything about treating the susceptibility of the patient. In my veterinary practice I use very few antibiotics. Instead, I focus on the patient’s susceptibility so that their own immune/healing powers can overcome the infection. It would be great if you could get a guest on your show who could address that aspect of infection.
    Love your show, keep it up!

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