The Future of Clinical Phage Therapy in the United Kingdom
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-25, 08:50 authored by JD Jones, C Trippett, M Suleman, MRJ Clokie, JR Clark
Bacteriophage (phage) therapy is a promising alternative antimicrobial strategy with the potential to transform the way bacterial infections are treated. In the United Kingdom, phages are classed as a biological medicine. Although no phages are licensed for UK use, they may be used as unlicensed medicinal products where licensed alternatives cannot meet a patient’s clinical needs. In the last 2 years, 12 patients in the UK have received phage therapy, and there is burgeoning clinical interest. Currently, clinical phage provision in the UK is ad hoc and relies upon networking with international sources of phages. The provision of phage therapy in the UK will not progress beyond an increasing number of ad hoc cases until an onshore sustainable and scalable source of well-characterised phages manufactured in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is established. Here, we present an exciting new collaboration between UK Phage Therapy, the Centre for Phage Research at University of Leicester, CPI, and Fixed Phage. These partners, and others as we develop, will establish sustainable, scalable, and equitable phage therapy provision in the UK. We set out a vision for how phage therapy will be integrated into the NHS and healthcare more broadly, including the complementarity between licensed (cocktail) and unlicensed (personalised) phage preparations. Key elements of phage therapy infrastructure in the UK will be GMP phage manufacturing, a national phage library, and a national clinical phage centre. Together, this infrastructure will support NHS microbiology departments to develop and oversee phage therapy provision across the UK. As it will take time to deliver this, we also describe considerations for clinicians seeking to use unlicensed phage therapy in the interim. In summary, this review sets out a roadmap for the delivery of clinical phage therapy to the UK, the benefits of which we hope will reverberate for patients for decades to come.
Author affiliationDepartment of Genetics and Genome Biology, University of Leicester
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