We are a volunteer group of experienced citizen scientists working to foster healthy communities through innovative medical research. Our team includes PhD-, Master- and Bachelor-level scientists. Together, we are taking on our first major project: the eradication of antibiotic resistant gonorrhea using Phage Therapy! We are asking for support in launching our Pilot Program which aims to: (1) Isolate and Characterize Bacteriophage from 10 patients, and (2) create a proof-of-concept bacteriophage cocktail to be used as therapy. Can you help us?
Craig Rouskey, MSc in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
Ami Knop Ullrich, MSc in Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Nina DiPrimio, PhD in Pharmacology
Marc Juul, MSc in Biotechnology Engineering
Jenny Ryan, MA in Anthropology, MA in Communication
Ianto Lin Xi, BSc Molecular Biology
Why Antibiotic Resistant Gonorrhea?
Besides being the second-most commonly reported bacterial STD, Gonorrhea has increasingly become resistant to available medications. Antibiotic Resistant N. gonorrhoeae (ARNG) is rising fast in the gay/bi men's community (CDC).
Gonorrhea can cause serious, long-term damage and sterility. Also, it makes it easier to both get HIV (because of tissue inflammation) and give HIV (there is more HIV in semen and vaginal fluids when a person is infected with gonorrhea). Antibiotic resistant Gonorrhea is therefore a growing public health concern. In the United States, this concern is exacerbated by the fact that primary treatments for gonorrheal infections are solely antibiotic-based. It is crucial to continuously monitor antibiotic resistant Gonorrhea while researching and developing new, non-antibiotic treatment regimens.
Screening and Phage Therapy
We are outreaching to clinics to gather participants in our Pilot Program. Patients who test positive for gonorrhea in local clinics will be given a pamphlet with an anonymous patient ID which they can then use to enroll in our study.
From these samples we will harvest and characterize the viruses that infect Gonorrhea. Bacterial viruses (bacteriophages or phages: viruses that infect only bacteria) are present in all species of bacteria and when active, have the potential to kill or 'shut down' their bacterial host. Infecting Gonorrhea with its own bacteriophage can cause the bacteria to lyse. While gonorrhea is fighting its phage infection, your body will have time to generate a natural immune response to your gonorrhea infection. Bacteriophage therapy is already being used for other infectious diseases including tuberculosis and with your commitment, we can make this new gonorrhea treatment a reality!
Of course there are biological roadblocks to the success of this therapy. For example, bacteriophage evolve quickly, and over-lysis of gram negative bacteria can have detrimental effects to the host. We have mechanisms for controlling lysis and we will research mechanisms through which phage and/or host evolution does not prevent our treatments success.
There are many ways to participate in this project! By contributing funds you can either support our lab rental, fund our equipment and reagent purchases, or fund our screening program. You can also participate by coming to our weekly meetings and lending your scientific brain to the project.
To participate in screening opportunities, attend our meetings, or otherwise support our efforts, please contact the organizer.
Jared S Morgan
Gregory H Whiting
- Jared S Morgan
- Gregory H Whiting
- Charles Crowley
- Jennifer Ryan
- Carly Nacmanie
- Carmel Cottingham