Wednesday, 3 April 2013

PHAGESPOIRS Guest Blogger: 4 Years treating CF infections with Phages.

Good Morning Dear readers!!
It is with much pleasure that I introduce to you my very first guest on CF MUDDA!  A very warm welcome to Monsieur Hervé Jacqueson. Hervé is from France and is the  vice-president of PHAGESPOIRS, a foundation created that advocates (and fights) for an access to phage therapy for patients with multiresistant bacteria and /or very critical situations. PHAGESPOIRS have today about 200 people who put pressure on public authorities (through media, conferences, and formal discussions) for authorising phages use. They have more and more patients with CF contacting them seeking advice. Hervé himself has CF (deltaF508 and R347P) and has had the good fortune to be treated with bacteriophage therapy for 4 years, his experience is remarkable and I asked if he would mind being a guest on my blog to talk about his experience and raise awareness about this amazing treatment. Thankfully Hervé has kindly obliged! 

The following is our interview. I apologise if I missed any questions that you may have wanted answered, but you may contact PHAGESPOIRS directly yourself (in English, no worries) by going on or you may like to stay up to date and show your support by joining the facebook group:

Welcome Hervé! Thank you so much for agreeing too talk about your marvellous experience about being treated by Phage therapy with CFMUDDA. It's a privilege to hear some of you thoughts & about your experience in Tbilisi. 

Faye Hello, how are youThank you, it is a pleasure to see that we share the same experience at the antipodes of our beautiful planet. I hope that the experience will be successful for you. I have visited your blog, very very interesting, both in terms of personal experienceat the scientific level. You do an outstanding job to make know the phages

Thank you for your complements about my blog, anything for CF!! If you don't mind, here are some questions I would love to ask you:

Did treating your bacteria with phages make you Pseudomonas "free" or just controlled it to a comfortable level?

I made three intravenous antibiotic treatment in four years instead of every three months before it
Did your lung function improve at all after treatment? 

My lung function was low when I start Phage (28%), I can tell that I've a big change on that but it's stabilised at 30-35%. Just a little bit better but stabilised.

Did another bacteria take the place of the strain that was treated? (for example: controlled Pseudomonas, but got aspergillus)

Yes, a mycobacterium has developed, and no phage was developed for treatment. But its effects are less destructive than Pseudomonas

How often do you need Phage treatments?

I do about three days of treatment every month, with two millilitres phage's cocktail (about 15 different phages, treating bothPseudomonasstaphilocoques and the stretocoques)  per day

Did you have any adverse/bad reactions from treatments?

Yes, with bacterial lysis, I feel, about 24 hours after having started treatment, a kind of asthma with breathing difficulties on exertion. By cons once this happened and after expectoration, I feel a real release in respiratory

What are you thoughts on Phages in general for treating CF?

Phages are, for me, much less harmful than antibiotics. Even if there are side effects, they have nothing to do with those caused by antibiotics.

So you needed antibiotics since being treated with Phages? 

Yes, I redid antibiotics sincefor mycobacterium. But we must also say that phages and antibiotics are not incompatiblesBy a process of selection, phages render the bacteria less resistant to antibiotics, thus increasing their effectiveness. Antibiotics are, for me, complementary phages

Why did you chose Tbilisi over Poland? (I ask because Poland is cheaper & closer to you, there must be a good reason!)

This is due primarily to the television. I saw, in 2008, a report on the Eliava Institute in Tbilisi, then I contacted themIt was only later that I learnt of the existence of this centre in Poland. Poland is more discreet on the subject, the phages being out legislation in the European Union

What is difference in response time to improve the infection using phages vs Antibiotics? 

Unlike antibiotics, phages act faster. Their multiplication is exponential. This is why the first two days are almost no effect. But after a strong bacterial lysisoccursThe side effects of this lysis (death of bacteria) is asthma, strong enough, and difficulty in expectorating. but after a few efforts to spit, you feel a sense ofcleaning, found also with antibiotics cures.

How quickly after treatment does the infection return if ever?

I do cures every month in order to control the infection. But I continue to spit infected but in small quantitiesAfter a month of treatment I feel the need to clean.
How are Phages administered?

I take the phage by aerosol nebulization with the same I use for antibiotics. I took 2ml per day for 4-6 days, depending on my tolerance. I also take phages per drink because we eat throughout the day a lot of spit and infection thus affects the digestive tract. This improves my intestinal floraMore passing blood phagescan reach the lungs and deep cleanBut on this point nothing to prove.

I take phages for the first time in aerosol

Can you share any impression of the Tbilisi phage therapy centre for those who are hesitant to make the journey?

In 2009, I was very well received at the Institute of Eliava TbilisiI was one of their first western patient and the first CF. Since I know that unfortunately businesshas been put in place and it must be very vigilant on tariffsIt is best to already have the quote from before to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Do you find travelling to Tbilisi safe?

Georgia is a post-Soviet country, so very exotic ... People seem quite cold Exterior but I've never felt threatened or in danger there. In 2009 the war against Russia had just ended but there was no sign of tension. In view of the testimony of others who have been there sinceit is a country that has changed a lot and it is open to the world.

the gentlemen with me is in front of Tbilisi Orthodox Cathedral, is responsible of the CF Centre in Tbilisi

Did your appetite, digestion or weight improve/stabilise at all?

My appetite is better, and even though I'm still skinny, my weight since reached a reasonable level to 172cm 55kgInfection decreasingthe appetite returns.This is a remarkable change.

Have you experienced any Cough changes?

Yes actually I cough a lot less than before, especially at night which helps to recoverAnd we know that it can sometimes be very difficult. Sputum also hugely reduced.

Has doing phages improved on quality of life?

Pseudomonas, before phagetired me  a lot. I left some at home and I spit throughout the day large quantityToday I drained twice a day and I can go out, have a social lifeI could even work in the past three years in a local newspaper. A very great experience and very rewarding on a personal level

How far away do you think Phage Therapy is from being used in France's hospitals? 

Unfortunately and for the first trials started, I would say that we cannot find the phage in France pharmacy before 10 yearsIt's very long and I think most of the patients I work with can not wait that long. We must therefore find alternative solutions.
Can you tell us a little about the work you do at Phagespoirs?

My role in phagespoirs is primarily to bring my testimony about my experience with other patients. But also to testify at medical forum to popularise this therapy and make it known to the greatest numberOtherwise Phagespoirsunder the leadership of Dr. Jerome Larchewho is also my brother, also launched in basic experiments on research phages so that they be available as soon as possible, but it is a job that will be long.

Thank you so very much for your time and willingness to share your story with us Hervé! All I can say is I am completely in awe of your fascinating experience (and to be completely honest, a little jealous!) After hearing your story and immersing myself in information about Phage Therapy I am determined to be treated myself (even more than previously)... I wish you all the very best at PHAGESPOIRS, your all doing such important work there ( I hope to do the same for Australiaand of course your continued success with Phage Therapy! Take care,
merci beaucoup! xo

Thank you, It is a pleasure to share my experience with you and your readersGood day and good luck.


Remember to contact Hervé in (French or English) at PHAGESPOIRS email:

Hervé appears in a recently made French documentary on Phages 


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