Personal Health

Genetically modified viruses rescue terminally ill girl

In the body, injected, genetically modified bacteriophages have rescued a 15-Year-olds from the UK the life. The patient had been admitted as a result of a cystic fibrosis lung transplant in a London hospital. Immediately after the Operation, a dangerous bacteria spread in your body rapidly. Sutures, bones, and organs to become inflamed, and the skin Abscesses had formed. Used antibiotics ineffective.

The condition of the girl deteriorated rapidly, in the meantime, the Doctors estimated her chances of Survival to under one percent, they write in the journal “Nature Medicine”. The case seemed hopeless. But then the experts decided to contact also at the Insistence of the parents, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, working on new forms of therapy with “bacteria-eaters”, so-called bacteriophages.

Lifesaver Muddy, ZoeJ and BPs

Bacteriophages are viruses that only attack bacteria and these to eat. They infect a bacterium, a build your genetic material in its DNA. The bacterium thus creates automatically a large number of phage copies. These consist only of genetic material in a protective Protein shell.

Doctors put great hopes in this new Form of therapy, because phage could also combat pathogens, in which most of the antibiotics fail. The phage are pushed into the body of a patient, to eat them, in the best case, the disease-causing bacteria. In the past year, Gregory Winter for his phage research in chemistry was awarded Nobel prize.

The University of Pittsburgh has collected 15.000 strains of phage and each tribe and even a name given. Three of them – Muddy, ZoeJ and BPs were eligible for the treatment of the patient from the UK. Initially, only Muddy could eliminate the pathogens in the body of the girl. The other two are nested in the bacterium, not increased. The researchers turned off a Gene in the virus, the reproduction inhibited.

As a result, the virus multiplied and now rapidly, as soon as they were infested with the bacterium, and were able to eliminate it. The researchers grew the rescued phage in a Petri dish, and sent it to London, where she of the patient were administered over 32 weeks, intravenously. Also, the surgical scar was regularly treated with the phage Cocktail. Meanwhile, the wounds are healed according to the Doctors. The bacteria in the body of the patient is hardly to prove. The pathogens completely eradicate want to use the Doctors another phage type.

According to the attending Doctors, it is the first known case in the genetically modified bacteriophage have been successfully used. The girl has now been discharged from the hospital. She is still burdened by cystic fibrosis, but the success of organ transplantation has extended their life expectancy significantly.