Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Microbiology professor edits a new book on bacteriophages

Dr. Paul Hyman, Assistant Professor of Biology/Toxicology, has edited Bacteriophages in Health and Disease with Dr. Stephen T. Abedon of the Ohio State University.  This book has just been published by CAB International.  The various chapters, including two chapters co-authored by Dr. Hyman, review the state-of-the-art in the role of bacteriophages in disease development and development of new therapies.

Bacteriophages, a type of virus that only infects bacterial cells, are typically thought to have no effect on human health since they cannot infect human cells. But they do have important roles in the evolution of new pathogens by carrying genetic material between bacterial cells.  There is also growing evidence that some bacteriophages have evolved mechanisms to avoid the human immune system so that they can attack bacteria that are part of the normal human microbiome – the collection of microbes that are found on and in a healthy person – thus altering the composition of the microbiome in ways that can also affect a person’s health.

In addition, the book contains chapters describing how bacteriophages are used in a variety of technologies for the discovery of new drugs and vaccines as well as the detection and identification of pathogenic bacteria.  Some of these are being marketed today including two anti-inflammatory drugs.  The final chapters review the long history and current study of bacteriophages as antibacterial drugs.  In some countries bacteriophage have been used for over 80 years to treat intestinal infections and wound infections among others.  This use of bacteriophages is designated phage therapy.  With the increasing levels of antibiotic resistant bacteria being seen around the world, phage therapy is seeing a resurgence in interest with dozens of treatments undergoing clinical trial.

No comments:

Post a Comment