Bacteriophages: a Panacea in Neuro-Urology?

Bacterial urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very frequent, especially in patients with neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction (NLUTD). The steady increase in antibiotic resistance among causative bacteria prompts the search for highly effective therapeutic alternatives with little or no side effects. Bacteriophages - obligate intracellular viruses that solely infect and kill bacteria - are promising tools for treating bacterial infections and have been used for this purpose for almost a century. Recent clinical studies using bacteriophage therapy for UTIs showed encouraging results. In particular, patients with recurrent UTIs, such as individuals with NLUTD who rely on assisted bladder emptying, might benefit from this treatment method. However, bacteriophages are not yet a panacea. More high-quality basic and clinical research on bacteriophage therapy is needed to answer questions on the use of this therapeutic option and its potential to provide a solution to the global threat of multidrug-resistant bacteria. PATIENT SUMMARY: Urinary tract infections are very common, especially in patients with neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction. In this review we discuss the potential of bacteriophage therapy as an alternative to antibiotics for treating patients with bladder infections.

European urology focus. 2019 Nov 12 [Epub ahead of print]

Lorenz Leitner, Thomas M Kessler, Jochen Klumpp

Department of Neuro-Urology, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland., Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health, ETH Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland. Electronic address: .