Pharmacological limitations of phage therapy

  • Anders S. Nilsson Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Keywords: Bacteriophage, phage therapy, pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacology


Clinical trial results of phage treatment of bacterial infections show a low to moderate efficacy, and the variation in infection clearance between subjects within studies is often large. Phage therapy is complicated and introduces many additional components of variance as compared to antibiotic treatment. A large part of the variation is due to in vivo pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics being virtually unknown, but also to a lack of standardisation. This is a consequence of the great variation of phages, bacteria, and infections, which results in different experiments or trials being impossible to compare, and difficulties in estimating important parameter values in a quantitative and reproducible way. The limitations of phage therapy will have to be recognised and future research focussed on optimising infection clearance rates by e.g. selecting phages, bacteria, and target bacterial infections where the prospects of high efficacy can be anticipated, and by combining information from new mathematical modelling of in vivo pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic processes and quantitatively assessed experiments.


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How to Cite
Nilsson A. S. (2019). Pharmacological limitations of phage therapy. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 124(4), 218-227.
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