Although bacteriophages have been overshadowed as therapeutic agents by antibiotics for decades, the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria and a better understanding of the role of the gut microbiota in human health and disease have brought them back into focus. In this Perspective, we briefly introduce basic phage biology and summarize recent discoveries about phages in relation to their role in the gut microbiota and gastrointestinal diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease and chronic liver disease. In addition, we review preclinical studies and clinical trials of phage therapy for enteric disease and explore current challenges and potential future directions.
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B.S. was supported in part by a Biocodex Microbiota Foundation Grant, NIH grants R01 AA024726, U01 AA026939, by Award Number BX004594 from the Biomedical Laboratory Research & Development Service of the VA Office of Research and Development and services provided by P30 DK120515 and P50 AA011999.
B.S. has been consulting for Ferring Research Institute, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, HOST Therabiomics, Mabwell Therapeutics, Patara Pharmaceuticals and Takeda. B.S.’s institution UC San Diego has received grant support from BiomX, NGM Biopharmaceuticals, CymaBay Therapeutics, Synlogic Operating Company, Prodigy Biotech and Axial Biotherapeutics. B.S. is founder of Nterica Bio. UC San Diego has filed several patents with B.S. and Y.D. as inventors related to this work. R.Y. was formerly involved with GangaGen (Bangalore, India) as a member of its scientific advisory board.
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Duan, Y., Young, R. & Schnabl, B. Bacteriophages and their potential for treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 19, 135–144 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41575-021-00536-z