Clinical Phages and Regulations

PI: Dr. Christine Rohde

The occurrence of multiple antibiotic resistant and even pan-resistant bacteria has dramatically risen and developed to one of the most serious global public health concerns, particularly in human and veterinary medicine. Due to their abundance and opportunistic pathogenicity, bacterial species of the WHO priority list of pathogens of concern like Acinetobacter baumannii, Enterococcus faecium, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa or Staphylococcus aureus, among others, have become a dangerous threat especially for hospitalized or chronically infected patients and alternatives to antibiotics are urgently needed to overcome severe infections or excessive intestinal colonization with such bacteria, the latter often causing bloodstream infections. Bacteriophages (short: phages) are one if not the most promising of those alternatives. Phages have been successfully and regularly used to fight bacterial infections in Eastern Europe for decades with convincing results. But also in Europe, including Germany, numerous patients have been successfully treated with phages in individual healing trials in recent years. To foster the re-introduction of phage therapy in Germany, the DSMZ phage group is currently involved in different research projects and studies dealing with the implementation of phages for application in human medicine, see below. Main tasks in those projects include

  1. provision of phages from the open DSMZ collection and isolating new phages for the goals of the projects to expand the panels of species-specific phage diversity. We aim at collecting such phage diversity per bacterial species for obtaining finally broad strain coverages.
  2. investigation of different aspects of phage biology including host spectra, phage efficiency parameters, phage morphology, phage genomics etc. 

Current research projects

Selected references

  1. Huber I, Potapova K, Kuhn A, Schmidt H, Hinrichs J, Rohde C, Beyer, W (2018). 1st German Phage Symposium - Conference Report. Viruses 2018, 10, 158.
  2. Rohde C, Wittmann J (2020). Phage Diversity for Research and Application. Antibiotics 2020, 9, 734.
  3. Rohde C*, Resch G*, Pirnay JP*, Blasdel BG*, Debarbieux L, Gelman D, Górski A, Hazan R, Huys I, Kakabadze E, Łobocka M, Maestri A, Magno de Freitas Almeida G, Makalatia K, Malik DJ, Mašlanová I, Merabishvili M, Pantucek R, Rose T, Štveráková D, Van Raemdonck H, Verbeken G, Chanishvili N (2018). Expert Opinion on Three Phage Therapy Related Topics: Bacterial Phage Resistance, Phage Training and Prophages in Bacterial Production Strains. Viruses 2018, 10, 178.
    * These authors contributed equally to this work.