Nanotechnology Based Approaches in Phage Therapy: Overcoming the Pharmacological Barriers


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Credits to: 2020 Barth van Rossum/ FMP

The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance pushes scientists to better explore the use of bacteriophages, as an alternative, in treatment of bacterial infections. Modern phage therapy has come a long way, yet it still hasn’t received regulatory approval for human use (except for compassionate use). Thus, to hit the clinical market, the roadblocks need to be seriously addressed and gaps mended with modern solution based technologies. Nanotechnology makes an ideal and powerful tool for overcoming the pharmacological barriers (low stability, poor in-vivo retention, targeted delivery, neutralization by immune system etc.) of administered phage preparations.

In literature, there are many review articles on nanotechnology and bacteriophages but these are primarily focused on highlighting the use of lytic and temperate phages in different fields of nano-medicine. Reviews focused on the use of nanotechnology driven techniques strictly to improve phage therapy are however limited. Nevertheless, these reviews, if available, focus on discussing encapsulation as a primary method for improving the stability and retention of phage(s) in the body. With the new advances in nanotechnology, approaches extend from mere encapsulation to recently adopted newer strategies.

This review provides a detailed insight into the more recent strategies that might create a suitable housing system for therapeutic bacteriophage preparations while targeting the multiple issues of phage therapy. The strategies discussed include:

1) Use of lipid based nano-carriers

2) Adopting microfluidic based approach, surface modification methods to further enhance the efficiency and stability of phage loaded liposomes

3) Nano- emulsification approach with integration of microfluidics for producing multiple emulsions (suitable for phage cocktails) with unique control over size, shape and drop morphology

4) Phage loaded nanofibers produced by electro-spinning and advanced core shell nanofibers for immediate, biphasic and delayed release systems and

5) Smart release drug delivery platforms that allow superior control over dosing and phage release as and when required.

In summary, the following review aims at giving a complete insight into the recent advances related to various nanotechnology based approaches to address the issues pertaining to phage therapy, since 2010. This is essential for improving the overall therapeutic index and success of phage therapy for future clinical approval.

Authors: Kaur, Sandeep et al. 

DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2021.699054

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