Kenneth Urish, MD, Awarded R01 Grant to Study Bacteriophage Therapy in Chronic Periprosthetic Joint Infection

March 6, 2023

UPMC Orthopaedic Care physician Kenneth L. Urish, MD, was recently awarded a Research Project Grant (R01) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study bacteriophage therapy in chronic periprosthetic joint infection. The grant is being funded by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS).

The study, titled, “The Role of Teichoic Acid Glycosylation in Phage Activity and Selection in an Ongoing FDA Phase II/III Clinical Study of Bacteriophage Therapy in Chronic Periprosthetic Joint Infection,” aims to determine how changes in Staphylococcus aureus wall teichoic acid glycosylation vary under different conditions and impact phage activity.

“The results of this study have resulted in IND-enabling technology that has directed FDA clinical studies on bacteriophage therapy in orthopaedic surgical infections,” says Urish.

Bacteriophage therapy is a promising new therapy for bacterial infections, including periprosthetic joint infection. This study will contribute to their long-term goal to develop new treatment strategies for periprosthetic joint infection, which includes an ongoing, independently funded FDA Phase II/III study.

“Total knee arthroplasty is the most common major surgical procedure in the United States, but the largest reason for their failure is due to infection,” says Urish. “This study and its outcomes are directing FDA clinical studies, which is incredible since our basic therapies to treat this infection has remained unchanged.”

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the R01 is the original and historically oldest grant mechanism used by NIH. The R01 provides support for health-related research and development based on the mission of the NIH. It is a $1.2 million grant and spans four years.

See more research by Kenneth L. Urish, MD.