A Review of Phage Therapy for Bone and Joint Infections

There is a strong rationale for using phages in patients with bone and joint infections (BJIs). Indeed, specific phages can infect and replicate in bacterial pathogens and have also demonstrated their activity in vitro against biofilm produced by different bacteria. However, there is a high variability of the different clinical forms of BJI, and their management is complex and frequently includes surgery followed by the administration of antibiotics. Regardless of the availability of active phages, optimal ways of phage administration in patients with BJIs are unknown. Otherwise, all BJIs are not relevant for phage therapy. Except for diabetic foot infection, a BJI with bone exposure is potentially not a relevant indication for phage therapy. On the counterpart, prosthetic joint infections in patients for whom a multidisciplinary expert team judges a conservative approach as the best option to keep the patient's function seem to be a relevant indication with the hypothesis that phage therapy could increase the rate of infection control. The ESCMID Study Group for Non-traditional Antibacterial Therapy (ESGNTA) was created in 2022. One century after the first use of phages as a therapy, the phage therapy 2.0 era, with the possibility to evaluate personalized phage therapy in modern medicine and orthopedic surgery, is just open.