It takes 10 years and $1 billion for a company to bring a new antibiotic to market.
But bacteria are constantly evolving and can become resistant to these new drugs within a few years, or even just a few months.
One solution may be bacterial killers that change.
They are giving thousands of people a chance to live life without pain, without drugs and without deadly bacteria.
“I’ve been treated for 20 years with every antibiotic you can think of,” said Greg Breed who uses IV antibiotics.
Greg Breed can barely remember a time when he wasn’t in pain from a drug-resistant E. coli infection in his prostate.
“For the last two years of my life, I was basically on IV antibiotics almost year-round,” Breed continued.
“Bacteria are obviously very smart and obviously have multiple ways to overcome the antibiotics that we use to kill them,” said infectious disease specialist MS Saima Aslam MBBS, UCSD.
UCSD Infectious Disease Specialist Saima Aslam connected with a team at Baylor College of Medicine that is working on a highly personalized solution using bacteria-eating viruses to kill these bacteria.
“What we try to do is generate viruses, they’re called phage, that are killers, specific killers of bad bacteria,” said Anthony William Maresso, PhD Molecular Virologist at Baylor College of Medicine.
“They won’t infect human cells.” Austin Terwilliger, PhD Baylor College of Medicine.
Researchers at Baylor test each patient’s virus against a phage library in their lab. If one of these kills the bacteria, then infusions are made and sent back to the patient’s doctor. The whole process can take from a few weeks to a year. UCSD has treated 19 patients with phage therapy. 80% are infection free for the first time in a long time.
“That was their end of the road treatment option. And to have that degree of success, you know, it’s really encouraging.” Dr Saima Aslam continued.
“They’ve labeled me as a success story now,” Greg Breed concluded.
Greg can now do the things he loves with the people he loves without pain or medication.
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