Combating Pathogenic Bacteria

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The potential for bacteriophages to control bacterial infections has been known for some time, but not fully exploited. They are not commonly used in general medical practice, due in part to the introduction of antibiotics. However, the overuse of antibiotics has resulted in many bacterial species which have become resistant to antibiotics, a large number of which are pathogenic and expensive to treat. These include the MRSA 'superbug'.


Scientists at the University of Strathclyde have developed a method for the immobilisation and stabilisation of bacteriophages as a preventative treatment for the so called 'superbugs'. The method allows the bacteriophages to be embedded within physical materials enabling medical supplies such as sutures to exploit the power of the bacteriophages to prevent infection. Additionally, the University has developed a technique of creating bacteriophage-carrying nanospheres which are introduced through injection into the body to treat systemic infection.

Key Benefits

  • Self-regulating and self-limiting
  • Can be targeted specifically at pathogenic bacteria
  • Can be made to regain activity after being dried
  • Can be chemically bonded to materials like nylon, silk, gut, cotton, polythene, polypropylene andcellulose; the resulting material is as effective as free bacteriophages

Markets and Applications

Immobilised bacteriophages have a wide range of applications including:

  • Clinical use in hospitals and the community
  • Food industry preparations and packaging
  • Veterinary medications
  • Personal health care skin creams etc.
  • Agriculture crop protection from bacterial diseases.

Licensing and Development

The technology is protected by a patent application filed by the University of Strathclyde as WO03/093462. Contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology. Please contact quoting reference number 1316.

This project has received assistance from the Proof of Concept Programme managed by Scottish Enterprise.  The Proof of Concept Programme supports the pre-commercialisation of leading-edge technologies emerging from Scotland's universities, research institutes and NHS Trusts.


Contact us

For further information please contact Research & Knowledge Exchange Services on 0141 548 3707 or email