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What factors shape phage pharmacokinetics and bioavailability?


Krystyna Dąbrowska. Phage therapy: What factors shape phage pharmacokinetics and bioavailability? Systematic and critical review // Med Res Rev. 2019;1–26.  https://doi.org/10.1002/med.21572

"Bacteriophages are not forgotten viruses anymore: scientists and practitioners seek to understand phage pharmacokinetics in animals and humans, investigating bacteriophages as therapeutics, nanocarriers or microbiome components. This review provides a comprehensive overview of factors that determine phage circulation, penetration, and clearance, and that in consequence determine phage applicability for medicine. It makes use of experimental data collected by the phage community so far (PubMed 1924‐2016, including non‐English reports), combining elements of critical and systematic review.

This study covers phage ability to enter a system by various routes of administration, how (and if) the phage may access various tissues and organs, and finally what mechanisms determine the courses of phage clearance. The systematic review method was applied to analyze (i) phage survival in the gut (gut transit) and (ii) phage ability to enter the mammalian system by many administration routes. Aspects that have not yet been covered by a sufficient number of reports for mathematical analysis, as well as mechanisms underlying trends, are discussed in the form of a critical review.

In spite of the extraordinary diversity of bacteriophages and possible phage applications, the analysis revealed that phage morphology, phage specificity, phage dose, presence of sensitive bacteria or the characteristics of treated individuals (age, taxonomy) may affect phage bioavailability in animals and humans. However, once phages successfully enter the body, they reach most organs, including the central nervous system.

Bacteriophages are cleared mainly by the immune system: innate immunity removes phages even when no specific response to bacteriophages has yet developed."