Phage Treatment Saves A Life



you they were having a breakdown they seen the pyramids and they were on a boat headed up to Luxor and as the boat was pulling into Luxor Stephanie texted me and said that Tom had developed abdominal pain and was unable to eat and she was worthy to develop food poisoning she then texted me back and said the pain is going through his back could this be pancreatitis what should I do I said you need to get into a hospital the last thing you need is pancreatitis in the middle of Egypt so organism we have a lot of respect for now so after a little over a week in Germany definitely was able to work with people here to get him flown to UCSD and he was hospitalized here at UC San Diego just before Christmas I wasn't ready to let you go and I came to you and I held your hand and I said honey they're doing everything that they can do there's nothing that can kill this bug so if you want to fight you need to fight but do you want me to come and pursue some alternative therapies and we'll leave no stone unturned around that time a colleague of ours who's at UCSF said that a friend of hers had been treated with phage therapy and flew to please each Oranje where she had this miraculous cure and I thought wow that sounds kind of far out but wait I remember learning about phages when I was an undergrad at the University of Toronto so I thought wow and I looked it up and I saw that it wasn't licensed and it certainly wasn't FDA approved yet there were some papers saying that this was a promising area for the future so I wrote chips Cooley and email and I said what do you think about phage therapy and he said what an interesting and intriguing idea if you can help identify some sages that are going to be reactive against his isolate I'm going to give it a whirl we set on a phage hunt took just a couple weeks but an international effort of researchers and people at the Navy Medical Research Unit came together to make this happen we couldn't have done it without these DSC team what they literally mean are bacteria gosh they eat bacteria these are small viruses that are ubiquitous we're loaded with bacteria Faraj and on any given day there's a dance going on in our GI tracts of bacteriophage attacking bacteria in the early part of the 20th century there were a lot of efforts in France and what became the former Soviet Union to use these organisms as therapeutic agents in people with difficult to treat infections toward the late 30s and early 40s the was less interest in this in the West because antibiotics began to emerge and people in the West thought antibiotics would be able to take care of our problems with bacterial infection there had not been a lot of experience with treating people with bacteriophage and almost none giving it intravenously in the u.s. so we relied on some of the literature from Soviet Union a lot of it was really being worked out kind of on a first patient basis as we went using a combination of the previous literature our own intuition about how these Fache would circulate and advice from people who have been thinking about it for a long time within about 48 hours he woke up and turned to his daughter and said I love you had there been pages available in the course of my illness when I first got ill I wouldn't have been nearly as sick as it turned out I was there's a lot of interest in bacteriophage therapy it's been gradually emerging over the last year or two as efforts to develop more traditional antibiotics have not really made the progress people have hoped bacteriophage had been kind of brought back off the shelf as a potential new approach to therapy they're not simple to use you have to develop a cocktail for each patient's own isolate they seem to be relatively safe together but they're going to be difficult to develop from both the research perspective also from the regulatory perspective now the good news is we have awfully good tools now to do this robotics and much more sophisticated molecular tools that enable this to be done in 10 to 15 years ago would have been impossible to contemplate on doing this and so I think although there's a lot of research to be done I think there going to be a lot of kind of classifications where this approach to therapy may be very beneficial with nations you can't emphasize enough how much I believe that pages really see change how we treat people in an economical way so I've seen the third world and other places benefiting as much as we do and in my case and I can't tell you how much it cost to take care of me much more than you know I would like to believe but if this can be done cheaply in in really low-tech way we can save millions of lives and so if I think the future of Medicine

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