1st patient treated in Mayo Clinic's phage therapy program

In 2019, a 62-year-old Minnesota man became the first at Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic to receive phage therapy for an antibiotic-resistant infection, according to the Chicago Tribune.

John Haverty had contracted the drug-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae infection after a knee implant surgery. Physicians at Mayo Clinic were suggesting amputation, but Mr. Haverty kept looking for a solution. A Maryland-based company called Adaptive Phage Therapeutics responded to him with a potential answer — treatment with a phage, a bacteria-killing virus. The company selects a phage and matches it with the person's infection, harnessing the phage to kill the bacteria. Mr. Haverty is the 14th patient in the world to receive a phage selected by Adaptive Phage Therapeutics.

There has been a renewed interest in phage therapy in recent years, after experiments with the therapy failed nearly a century ago. The FDA has expressed interest making the development and assessment of phage therapies easier.

The FDA approved Mr. Haverty's procedure "as a compassionate use of an unapproved therapy," the Tribune reports. The procedure was successful, and Mr. Haverty is once again able to walk.

Editor's note: The headline and first paragraph mistakenly claimed Mr. Haverty was the 14th patient in the world to have received phage therapy. It has been corrected to say he is the14th in the world to receive a phage selected by Adaptive Phage Therapeutics. The article was updated on Jan. 8, 2020, at 4:09 p.m.

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