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Frank May Prize Lecture: 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend: developing viruses as novel therapeutics to treat bacterial infection'

Series Name Frank May Prize Lecture
Speaker Professor Martha Clokie
Type Lectures & Talks
When 21 Sep 2015, 05:30PM - 06:30PM
Venue Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building
Open To Public
Ticket Price Free
For Bookings Contact Vickie Boulter vjb21@le.ac.uk 0116 2522962

Professor Martha Clokie will give the 2015 Frank May Prize Lecture on 21 September.

2015 marks 100 years since bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) were discovered. Soon after their discovery they developed as therapeutics to treat a wide range of topical and internal bacterial infections. However, after the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s this research stalled in the western world, and instead bacteriophages were used to unravel the fundamentals of molecular biology. Antibiotics were seen as being so useful that it was thought that bacteriophages were unnecessary as treatment options because they were more complicated to use than standard chemical antibiotics.

In the 1990s it was realised how abundant bacteriophages are globally, with an impressive estimate of 1031 bacteriophages on earth. All bacteria have these natural enemies that play important roles in their evolution and biology. There is now a growing realisation that we are dangerously close to running out of antibiotics to treat many bacteria that cause diseases in humans and animals. This awareness has incentivised a return to look at developing bacteriophages as therapeutics. It is an exciting time to be doing this work as we have access to tools such as genome information that can inform bacteriophage therapeutic development, such tools were not available during the early phase of bacteriophage therapy research.