Yesterday there was an article in the Toronto Star about a little something called “phage therapy“, a process, pioneered by the easter europeans, that uses bacteriophage instead of antibiotics to take care of bacterial pathogens. If you ask me it’s a much better process, as it’s a helluva lot cheaper, more effecient, reduces the risk of bacterial resistance (which is becoming such a problem in many hospitals). The problem why this method never took off in N.A. (and it’s been around since ol’ Fleming first discovered the antibiotic properties of some microbe), is because generally a phage cocktail (i.e. a mixture of bacteriophage species, which maximizes the effeciency of the process, due to a larger range of pathogen “types” or strains being targetted) can’t be perfectly defined and thus cannot be patented (ahh, big business. gotta love it). With the amount of clinical testing needed to get a medical treatment widely available, no pharmaceutical in their right-capatalistic mind would go through the testing, just to have another company pick up a vial of the cocktail and grow it up in the lab for cheap, then turn around and market it themselves. But, as the article explains, the growing number of antibiotic-resistant, or “super-strains” of bacterial pathogens out there is going to warrant the use of phage therapy in the future, so phage research, i’m sure, is going to blow up big time in the near-future.
Happy to know my MSc work is linked a bit, and my Phd work is going to ride the wave of interest in phage therapy! I just may become a well-paid scientist after all!!
Aside from this, the best part about writing is the soul-crushing “advice” you get from your supervisor. “hey, what’d you think about the intro i gave you?” “well…you have fine sentence structure…”