Early studies show potential for acute systemic infection and as a promising vaccine approach.
GangaGen received a patent for the invention of “Lysin-deficient bacteriophages having reduced immunogenicity,” where they can be used to destroy pathogenic bacteria, including those resistant to antibiotics. “This discovery opens the door to the therapeutic use of phages against chronic bacterial infections, both systemic and topical,” points out Carl Merrill, senior scientist and research specialist in bacterial infection and phage biology at NIH.
Bacteriophages, or phages, are naturally occurring agents that target and destroy bacteria with a high degree of efficiency without affecting beneficial bacteria or tissue cells.
GangaGen’s lysin-deficient phages create fewer side effects than natural lytic phages, which are not lysine-deficient, according to the company. Natural lytic phages infect target bacteria, multiply, and then explode the bacterial cell to release new phages to infect other bacteria. As effective as they are in killing bacteria, there is a loss of control over treatment dose strength. Large, uncontrolled amounts of phages in circulation also create immunogenic reactions in the patient.
By contrast, GangaGen’s lysin-deficient phages do not release new phages from the killed bacteria, but still maintain their specificity and effectiveness in killing the pathogenic bacteria. The pathogenic bacteria are then removed from circulation by the body’s normal defense systems without secondary effects.
GangaGen has initiated proof-of-concept studies of lysin-deficient phages in animal trials. Early results show this to be effective in the treatment of acute systemic infection and as a promising vaccine approach.