A new medical research center in San Diego is embracing an innovative way to treat antibiotic resistant infections called bacteriophage therapy—phage therapy for short—which uses viruses as weapons against hard-to-treat infections.
Antibiotic-resistant infections are part of a growing global health problem. Each year in the United States, at least two million people contract drug-resistant infections, and 23,000 die from those illnesses. Bacteria naturally grow resistant to the drugs used to treat them, and for people with especially tough infections that aren’t responding to the usual medications, the options are limited.
On Thursday, the University of California San Diego School of Medicineannounced that it is collaborating with national research groups and private companies to create the Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics (IPATH). The first of its kind in North America, the center will conduct clinical trials of phage therapy for people living with severe drug-resistant infections.