Almost everyone in the greater Southern California area (including, but not limited to: my mother, tons of scientists, phage enthusiasts, microbiologists, virologists, etc.) has heard about the “Tom Patterson case” from around 2016. In case you’re still in the dark (which is totally fine too! This is a safe space to learn about phages and phage therapy!), in March 2016 Dr. Tom Patterson contracted a life-threatening multidrug-resistant infection of Acinetobacter baumannii and became the first known person in the United States to undergo intravenous phage therapy.
Watch the video for more information:
Cool right? The phage eliminated the infectious pathogen and Dr. Patterson eventually recovered from his months-long illness.
Why are we tweeting about this case though? Well, on March 24th, the iPATH seminar series continued with a talk given by Dr. Robert “Chip” Schooley (see this link for my write-up about Dwayne’s talk) at SDSU.
The seats were nearly packed by undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members interested in hearing from Tom’s treating doctor about that case and the future of clinical phage therapy.
Personally, I thought it was really cool that in some cases, it doesn’t matter whether the phages are used for treatment via IV or through aerosolized ingestion – according to Dr. Schooley, the phages “end up where the money is”, or rather, to the site of the infection.
After the talk, it was exciting to meet with Dr. Schooley and Dr. Pride (and his lab members) at Eureka! and to hear more about phage therapy and research from PhDs and MDs in the know.
Looking forward to our next meeting at UCSD!