From University of Leicester:
IMAGE: The team at Leicester has been working with common white waxworms available in the UK. view more
Credit: University of Leicester
University of Leicester scientists have previously identified the potential of using a bacteriophage cocktail to eradicate Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and in this research, using an insect model, they show that their prophylactic use can prevent infection forming in the first place.
The data, which is the result of research conducted by University of Leicester researchers Janet Nale, Ph.D. and Professor Martha Clokie, both from the Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, demonstrated that C. difficile phages are particularly effective when used to prevent infection, but they are also good at targeting harmful bacterial infections once biofilms have formed.
Using biofilm and waxworms as models, these phages reduced C. difficile bacterial counts when administered as a preventative measure. Furthermore, combinations of phages and vancomycin led to a marked decrease in C. difficile colonisation in the waxworms.
The fact that this was an experimental lab study in waxworms means that conclusions can be made about cause and effect in this species.
Phages have not been used in humans to treat CDI and to see whether these results apply to people, an experimental trial with people would be necessary. However, work with insect models is crucial to our understanding of how best to exploit them. They have shown that these new models are useful tools in which to investigate the timings and dose regimens of phage treatment.
The paper is now published online and is expected to be published in a hard copy special issue of Frontiers in Microbiology dedicated to the past, present and future of phage research and development.
The study was funded by AmpliPhi Biosciences Corporation, a global …