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Phagotherapy: a nightmare for bacteria, a dream for physicians?

La phagothérapie : cauchemar pour la bactérie et rêve pour le médecin ?

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Abstract

Bacteriophages were discovered in the early 20th century and rapidly used to treat bacterial infections in humans. As the first specific antibacterial agents, they were used worldwide until antibiotics ramped up. Thereafter, rapidly forgotten, they be- came the favorite toolbox for researchers that used them to elucidate some of the most fundamental aspects of the cellular life at the molecular level. Today, facing the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria, bacteriophages are being reconsidered for their use in medicine. During the past century, knowledge on bacteriophages has improved considerably, nevertheless phage therapy is still in its infancy. Taking two examples of recently published experimental phage therapy results, this article summarizes the hopes but also the challenges that surround the future development of human phage therapy.
-Découverts au début du XX e siècle, les bactériophages ont rapidementété utilisés pour traiter des infections bactériennes, devenant ainsi les premiers antibactériens spécifiquesàêtre employés en médecine. Cependant, l'arrivée des antibiotiques a brutalement réduit leur utilisation, les confinant au rayon ((boîteà outils)) du chercheur. Celui-ci en fît bon usage permettant de dévoiler une très grande partie des secrets moléculaires de la cellule. Aujourd'hui, faceà la menace que représentent les pathogènes bactériens résistants aux antibiotiques, les bactériophages tentent de faire leur retour dans le domaine médical. Bien que la connaissance de ces virus bactériens ait considérablement progressé après presque un siècle d'études, leur utilisation thérapeutique est loin d'être maîtrisée. Cet article relate,à l'aide de deux exemples récents de l'utilisation expérimentale des bactériophages, les espoirs mais aussi les challenges qui entourent la mise en place de la phagothérapie appliquéeà l'Homme. Mots clés : Bactériophages thérapeutiques / infections bactériennes / résistance aux antibiotiques / pneumonie / diarrhée Abstract-Phagotherapy: a nightmare for bacteria, a dream for physicians? Bacteriophages were discovered in the early 20th century and rapidly used to treat bacterial infections in humans. As the first specific antibacterial agents, they were used worldwide until antibiotics ramped up. Thereafter, rapidly forgotten, they became the favorite toolbox for researchers that used them to elucidate some of the most fundamental aspects of the cellular life at the molecular level. Today, facing the threat of antibiotic resistant bacteria, bacteriophages are being reconsidered for their use in medicine. During the past century, knowledge on bacteriophages has improved considerably, nevertheless phage therapy is still in its infancy. Taking two examples of recently published experimental phage therapy results, this article summarizes the hopes but also the challenges that surround the future development of human phage therapy.
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pasteur-03164767 , version 1 (10-03-2021)

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Laurent Debarbieux, Emilie Saussereau, Damien Maura. La phagothérapie : cauchemar pour la bactérie et rêve pour le médecin ?. Biologie Aujourd'hui, 2013, 207 (3), pp.181 - 190. ⟨10.1051/jbio/2013017⟩. ⟨pasteur-03164767⟩

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