Researchers at Leicester University have shown that it might be possible to develop an alternative to antibiotics for treating diseases in pigs.
They have identified a range of viruses, called bacteriophages, that can be used to kill common pig infections.
The aim is to reduce the risk of antibiotic resistant bacteria emerging on farms that could also infect humans.
If trials in pigs work, the new therapy could be extended to treat people.
Prof Martha Clokie presented her interim results to a pig industry meeting in Solihull. She told BBC News that the early results indicated that phage therapy could be "completely transformative for human health".
"There are many infections that we just can't treat with antibiotics because they have become resistant to them. So using the phage therapy for specific diseases could change the way we treat infection. It could give us a whole new armoury."