Infectious Diseases

First Therapeutic use of Bacteriophage to Treat Mycobacterial Infection

Posted on 10 May 2019

The first therapeutic use of engineered phages (viruses that infect bacteria) to treat human mycobacterial infection. A patient had complete remission after 6 weeks of treatment with these engineered phages. This presents a plausible alternative to treatment with antibiotics.

A 15-year-old patient with cystic fibrosis with a disseminated Mycobacterium abscessus infection was treated with a three-phage cocktail following bilateral lung transplantation. Effective lytic phage derivatives that efficiently kill the infectious M. abscessus strain were developed by genome engineering and forward genetics

Rebekah M. Dedrick et al. (2019)
Whole-body PET-CT scans 12 weeks before and 6 weeks post phage treatment. The dark patches indicating infection.


  1. Dedrick, R.M., Guerrero-Bustamante, C.A., Garlena, R.A. et al. Engineered bacteriophages for treatment of a patient with a disseminated drug-resistant Mycobacterium abscessus. Nat Med 25, 730–733 (2019).
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