Inheritance & Variation of Traits, Inheritance 5: DNA Technology (MS), Life Science

Phage Therapy on Infected Graft

Phage treatment of an aortic graft infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa

SUMMARY: The first part of this article talks about using phage and antibiotics (separately and together) in vitro to reduce bacteria biofilm. Researchers found that phage alone was enough to reduce biofilm to almost zero; however, there is the concern (noted in other papers) that the bacteria could evolve resistance to phages. The end goal was to see if there was a way to force the bacteria to evolve resistance to phage therapy by giving up resistance to antibiotics; in this manner, the most effective treatment would be phage therapy with antibiotics. The second half of the article describes phage therapy used on someone who had a chronic aorta graft infection. It worked and even though his chance of reinfection was high, reinfection has not happened.

LESSON COMMENTS: For younger students, this is a good way to introduce viral lytic cycles, how antibiotics work, bacteria cell walls, and biofilms.

For older students, this is an easy paper to read; students can follow up with some of the research cited by this paper, then branch off into other forms of antibiotic resistant bacteria therapy (CRISPR, for example).

Chan, B. K., Turner, P. E., Kim, S., Mojibian, H. R., Elefteriades, J. A., & Narayan, D. (2018). Phage treatment of an aortic graft infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health,2018(1), 60-66. doi:10.1093/emph/eoy005