Community involvement plays an integral role in guiding our research. Since the formation of the Phage Therapy Task Force (START Phage WA) in 2021, we have engaged with the community by hosting phage therapy information sessions.
The inaugural Phage Therapy Information Evening was co-hosted with Cystic Fibrosis WA (CFWA) and the second with the Health Consumers Council (HCC) and Consumer & Community Involvement program (CCIP). These information evenings have generated great interest and will continue to be organised on our journey towards phage therapy use in WA. Stay tuned for further info, and check out the previous information evening recordings.
Phage Therapy stands to affect many in the community who have felt the impact of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR), whether personally or through a relative or friend. START Phage WA, which is led by members of the Airway Epithelial Research Group, has close affiliations with community organisations invested in finding an alternative to antibiotics and a solution to AMR.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease affecting the lungs, which often results in chronic bacterial infections that have become resistant to treatment by antibiotics. We have had support from two local community organisations, Cystic Fibrosis WA and Conquer Cystic Fibrosis, and in turn we are regular participants in their events and fundraisers. Both organisations have been key supporters of the CF research conducted by the Airway Epithelial Research Group at Telethon Kids Institute and are keen to be a part of the implementation of phage therapy in WA.
Members of START Phage WA have begun working with Aboriginal researchers in the Goldfields of WA. Through consultation and engagement, the project "Local Phage for Local Infections" hopes to address the burden of chronic bacterial infections in regional communities and appreciate the significance of land and water in Aboriginal culture, where some water sources are also known for their healing properties. Phages isolated from these regional areas will be tested against stored bacteria from the same communities to determine whether phages are specific for bacteria causing infections locally. The overall consultation process hopes to determine whether phage therapy might be a good alternative to antibiotic use in Aboriginal communities due to its consistency with other cultural methods. These consultations form part of Phage Australia’s overall research interests.
Phage WA acknowledge that our research is conducted on the Traditional homelands of the Noongar people, with phages isolated from waters across Noongar Wadjak. Phage WA would like to thank Sharon Gregory, who has named many of our phages in Wadjak Noongar language.