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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

New Plan for 2020


Finally! Another update. I am sure you are all worried about what is happening with this documentary...

Appendicitis!

I had an Appendicitis Scare in the past few months. Because my lungs are so sensitive/awkward an appendectomy was not performed. Instead, I was first admitted to a regional hospital but eventually went for admission at the Canberra Hospital.  The final outcome; I was twice treated with large doses of IV antibiotics and the appendicitis is gone for now. It is expected to come back, which is totally normal, so they wish for my gut to fully recover and get over the infection before removing it later this year or in January through a laparoscopic procedure.  This means full intubation will not be required if all goes to plan.

I was hoping this situation would perhaps qualify for an emergency TGA approval to improve my lungs with Phage Therapy before the procedure, but due to hesitance of my health providers to fully commit themselves to phage therapy, and the dim outlook of getting TGA approval by the medicos involved, this opportunity has now kind of passed.

NEW PLAN

But we NEVER GIVE UP! Even though the preferred option of Yale treating me for the documentary seems to have gone out the window, I have formulated a new plan:

In Search of a Phage - The fight against Antibiotic Resistant Infections gets on the road.

Early

In early 2020 I hope to travel to Tbilisi in Georgia. I will go to a pharmacy and ask for a phage preparation to treat my Pseudomonas Aeruginosa lung infection. They may or may not give me something suitable. Chances are they will refer me to the Eliava Institute of Bacteriophages or to a local doctor. I will see what happens and go with the flow for a week, during which I may also visit this legendary institute where the world's largest phage library exists.

Next, I will travel to Wroclaw in Poland, where the next most famous bacteriophage institute is, the Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy.
Here I will do the same, spend a week or so in search of Phage treatment.

Jean-Paul Pirnay
Qn. Astrid Military Hospital
And then my last destination is in Brussels where the 'Koningin Astrid Military Hospital' has made leaps and bounds in phage therapy. In Belgium they now allow Phage therapy. My strategy here is to go to a GP and explain what I have done to get rid of my pseudomonas infection. They will do a sputum test and see what is happening with my infection and will prescribe a  magistral preparation and ensure that the infection will definitely be treated and I can go home with an ongoing treatment plan.

I now envisage the documentary as follows:


  • Start with my CF team explaining my infection (futile hospitalisation and ABX treatments)
  • Switch to scientists at the University of Tasmania and Monash University explaining bacteriophages a bit better*.
  • Get on the road and in Georgia hear a little about the history of phages* before proceeding to me making an attempt to get treated with phages. 
  • Travel to Poland where we will hear about the successful application of phages in WWII on the battlefield and why there was perhaps not a 100% success rate there, hear how many people visit the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute from abroad, and briefly discuss why Phage therapy is not accepted in other countries***.
  • Travel to Brussels where we will speak to scientists and medical professionals, such as Jean-Paul Pimay pictured above, at the Queen Astrid  Hospital who will explain why it is now permitted in Belgium and how it was approved for public use, and explain why in Australia and other countries it is still not accepted.
  • Back in Tasmania I will see my CF clinic, get a sputum test and lung function test and ask why we can not do this in Australia yet and when will it be possible. With my daring trip, taking the phage preparations in foreign countries, not one side effect was noted or warned against,. It was much cheaper compared to any hospitalisation for IV antibiotics and there are no serious side-effects noted over the 80+ years of use in  Eastern Europe or in the rest of the world over the last decade or more.

Hopefully, this documentary will make a big difference to the acceptance of Phages.


Thank you for your patience, hanging in there with me, and please pass to anyone who may be battling Antibiotic-Resistant infections!

Remember the Fundraiser to fund the Documentary is here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/phage-or-fail-with-antibiotics


* "Since time immemorial, phages—the viral parasites of bacteria—have been protecting Earth’s biosphere against bacterial overgrowth. Today, phages could help address the antibiotic resistance crisis that affects all of society"... 

** Discovered early 1900s and was replaced by the easier to use Antibiotics except in Russia and Eastbloc countries where Antibiotics were hard to get, hence phage therapy successfully continued there till today. 


*** Phage therapy does not fit the western clinical trial model as billions of phages exist naturally and each one is only effective against a very specific bacteria. Clinical trials will not work for trials that demand one medicine to be tested on multiple patients. Phages are a tailor-made (often per case) medicine.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Waiting on FDA approval

Hi everyone,

We are anxiously awaiting word from the FDA to approve my bacteriophage treatment at Yale.

Because phage therapy is still not officially cleared as an official treatment on humans in the western world, use of them must be applied for before researchers or doctors can use them on a patient, and that includes research.

Just to recap. Phages are the millions of natural enemies of bacteria. They are viruses that cull bacteria populations. If it wasn't for bacteriophages our sewers and compost bins would be overflowing with green ooze :)  Like any overpopulation, disease/viruses ensure population numbers are kept in check.

Bacteriophages are highly specific (hence minimal side-effects), and one phage cocktail that may kill the pseudomonas infection in my lung, but not the pseudomonas infection in someone else's lung which may require another combination of phages because the bacteria came from another source, and is, therefore, a different genotype.  Because phages are all unique they cannot easily be classified as a medicine because they really are a family of bacterial agents. For every patient, a unique phage cocktail has to be prepared from a Phage Bank. Exceptions are of course if it is the same bacteria that has infected many, say with a hospital infection.

With phages not exactly qualifying as medicine and one phage cocktail not curing all infections as similar as they may seem, it is very difficult to conduct clinical trials where historically one medicine is tested on a number of patients. Even if you had a collection of 30 people with Cystic Fibrosis and with Pseudomonas lung infections, each infection is likely a different genotype and requires a  different phage cocktail to treat. Biochemists test each person's bacteria with a range of phages and narrow down phages that are effective specific to each case. As bacteria mutate and gain resistance, the phage cocktail needs adjusting periodically. It is not one pill for all solution. It is a tailored treatment. Companies like AmpliPhi in the USA and others are working on creating more universally applicable cocktails which may get annual 'updates' just like annual flu shots do. Other researchers are trying to engineer artificial phages to gain optimal results for more infections.

Just a reminder, bacteriophages are not a recent invention,...Cocktails of phages were used therapeutically in Europe and the United States during the early 1900s pre-antibiotic era, used in the fight against the bubonic plague in Southeast Asia, dysentery in France, and cholera in India. Phage use is still prevalent in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe today. In the West, phage therapy was abandoned after broad-spectrum antibiotics came on the scene.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41587-019-0133-z

Lets hope I get the call soon so that I will still be healthy enough to fly the 15000 kilometres to the USA! I would hate to have another 2 week hospitalisation to get pumped full of antibiotics which hardly addresses my Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection and which are starting to give me nasty side-effects!

As soon as I get the call with a date I will contact the press and we will need to scramble for the $$$ to make up the target figure required for the documentary!

If you hear of anyone who has antibiotic-resistant infections, Cystic Fibrosis or anyone who may be interested please pass this website to them!

Thanks for your patience and support!

Walter----

Friday, May 31, 2019



If you have anything to do with Microbiology in Australia you would have seen the March edition of Microbiology Australia, a CSIRO publication. They have dedicated their entire quarterly magazine to Bacteriophages!

Have a read if you are interested! http://microbiology.publish.csiro.au/nid/206/issue/9721.htm

Too much for most people to read, but I will refer to its content over the next few weeks on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/Coughing4Cf and on the blog https://www.coughing4cf.com.

One paragraph from the Microbiology Australia magazine;
Phages are natural organisms, arguably the most abundant life-form on Earth. They have evolved closely and dynamically with their bacterial host and are therefore specific and effective in selectively eliminating their target. They have a low environmental impact and have shown to have no serious side effects on bystander microorganisms. They are self-replicating in the presence of their target, facilitating dosing regimens, and have been successfully employed to treat even MDR infections, Only recently (2006) the FDA has recognised the designation of phages as ‘generally regarded as safe’, allowing for the use of phage in clinical practice and opening the road towards the implementation of bona fide clinical trials.
Complete article here: http://microbiology.publish.csiro.au/?paper=MA19005

We now have an incredible film producer tentatively working with me ( www.deansaffron.com) to make the documentary a reality, but I do need more finance to help make this a reality. Once we have a finite date with Yale I will engage the media and hopefully, we can then reach our goal! In the meantime keep on drumming up interested parties, and ask your friends to support with small donations so they can stay up to date with progress and experience phage therapy through my journey!

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REMEMBER WE NEED $$$ TO MAKE THIS DOCUMENTARY of my treatment so that other people learn about Bacteriophages and recognise their potential in the fight against antibiotic-resistant infections. PHAGE or FAIL. I invite you to be part of this revolution and donate :)  In return, you will get regular updates about my journey/lesson and you will get to see the 15-minute documentary once completed!  CLICK HERE: www.gofundme.com/phage-or-fail-with-antibiotics


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