Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) is a group of bacteria that can cause life-threatening respiratory infections in individuals with cystic fibrosis. BCC has become highly resistant to antibiotic treatment, leaving researchers searching for alternative therapies.
Dr. Jonathan Dennis of the University of Alberta has had promising laboratory results using phage therapy targeting BCC. Phages, or bacteriophages, are tiny viruses that target and kill specific bacteria. This treatment strategy was originally discovered by a Canadian scientist early in the 20th century.
Dr. Dennis’ research team is studying the phage DC1 and its enzyme product. This enzyme is able to penetrate the outer layer of BCC, and biofilms containing BCC, causing the bacteria to become more vulnerable and easier to eliminate. The DC1 phage or enzyme could be used together with other phages or antibiotics to eliminate BCC more effectively.
(From left to right, Euan Thomson , Dr. Jonathan Dennis, Karlene Lynch, Diana Semler, Mandi Goudie (technician), Sarah Routier, and Gerardo Juarez)
The ultimate objective of this therapy is longer and healthier lives for people with cystic fibrosis.
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