In DepthDRUG DEVELOPMENT

Beleaguered phage therapy trial presses on

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Science  24 Jun 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6293, pp. 1506
DOI: 10.1126/science.352.6293.1506

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Summary

In the face of rising antibiotic resistance, many researchers hope that bacteria-killing viruses known as phages—long available to patients in Eastern Europe—will offer patients in the West with dangerous infections an alternative treatment. A European clinical trial envisioned as the first large-scale test of phages under modern regulatory standards was expected to have results this summer. But after a series of delays, the trial, known as PhagoBurn, has been forced to shrink in size and scope. Now, it's racing to recruit patients and produce results by early next year. The project may blaze a path for future products to seek market approval, but it also illustrates some of the many obstacles they'll face in demonstrating that phages are safe and effective.