Navigation Links
Fecal 'Transplant' to Cure Gut Infection?
Date:1/16/2013

By Barbara Bronson Gray
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Here's a new twist on the old idea of not letting anything go to waste. According to a small new Dutch study, human stool -- which contains billions of useful bacteria -- can be donated from one person to another to cure a severe, common and recurrent bacterial infection.

People who have the infection, called Clostridium difficile (or C. difficile), experience long bouts of severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. For many, antibiotics are ineffective. To make matters worse, taking antibiotics for months and months wipes out a large percentage of bacteria that would normally be helpful in fighting the infection.

"Clostridium difficile only grows when normal bacteria are absent," explained study author Dr. Josbert Keller, a gastroenterologist at Hagaziekenhuis Hospital, in The Hague.

The stool from a donor, mixed with a salt solution called saline, can be instilled into the sick person's intestinal system, almost like parachuting a team of commandos into enemy territory. The healthy person's abundant and diverse gut bacteria go to work within days, wiping out the stubborn C. difficile that the antibiotics have failed to kill, according to the study.

"Everybody makes jokes about this, but for the patients it really makes a big difference," Keller said. "People are desperate."

The research, published Jan. 16 in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that the infusion of donor stool was significantly more effective in treating recurrent C. difficile infection than was vancomycin, an antibiotic. Of the 16 study participants, 13 (81 percent) of the patients had resolution of their infection after just one infusion of stool and two others were cured with a follow-up treatment.

The approach is not new, but this research is the first controlled trial ever done, according to Dr. Ciaran Kelly, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the author of an editorial accompanying the research. Previous reports have been simple case studies, which are considered less conclusive.

C. difficile is the most commonly identified cause of hospital-acquired infectious diarrhea in the United States, according to Kelly.

The process of giving and receiving a stool donation is relatively simple. Study author Keller said participants typically asked family members to donate part of a bowel movement, thinking it would be more comfortable to receive such a donation of such a substance from someone they knew. Some anonymous donors were also involved.

Keller explained that donors can be of any age, and do not need to be related to the recipient. Donor stool does need to be free of any infectious diseases and parasites, and the donor's blood must also be screened.

The stool mixture, which was described by Keller as looking something like chocolate milk, can be given into the intestinal tract in three different ways. It can be given by colonoscopy, through a nasal-duodenal tube that is threaded out of the stomach into the upper duodenum, or by enema. Kelly said the procedure is currently done at about 50 centers now in the United States, typically using the colonoscopy method.

In the study, conducted at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, investigators randomly assigned the patients to three groups and compared the infusion of donor stool after vancomycin therapy and bowel cleansing (lavage) with either just vancomycin therapy or with just bowel lavage.

So why has "fecal transplantation," as some people call it, not taken off? Before this study was published, there was a lack of data from randomized, controlled trials to prove it works, Kelly said. Also holding the procedure back, he added, was that the very idea of taking someone's stool into your body was unappealing, and the fact that steps in the process -- such as finding and screening donors, and processing the stool -- can be logistically difficult to execute.

What will it cost to be a stool recipient? Study author Keller said that for the patients who suffer from C. difficile, "it doesn't matter how much it costs because the cost of hospitalization and the pain and discomfort" are so significant.

But Keller estimates that the procedure would cost more than the average colonoscopy because the physician must be involved in donor selection and counseling. "The procedure takes about one-and-a-half to two hours, but I schedule only 30 minutes for a colonoscopy," he explained.

For those for whom the whole idea of stool donation remains difficult to embrace, Keller sums it up: "It's the most powerful probiotic you can imagine, introducing healthy flora [into an unhealthy environment]."

The research may offer promising solutions to a wide range of gastrointestinal problems. "This study suggests an exciting new branch of human therapeutics, called microbiome research, which may help treat people with inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic disorders like obesity and irritable bowel syndrome," Kelly said.

More information

Learn more about C. difficile intestinal infections from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

SOURCES: Josbert J. Keller, M.D., Ph.D., gastroenterologist, Hagaziekenhuis Hospital, The Hague; Ciaran P. Kelly, M.D., professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Jan. 16, 2013, New England Journal of Medicine


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Caring for patients with fecal incontinence costs more than $4,000 per person each year
2. Groundbreaking clinical trial looks at fecal transplant as treatment for C. difficile
3. Discovery could help to develop drugs for organ transplant and cancer patients
4. Xenotransplantation as a therapy for type 1 diabetes
5. First, Second Kidney Transplants Have Similar Success: Study
6. Lenalidomide prolongs disease control for multiple myeloma patients after stem cell transplant
7. Statins prevent cancer in heart transplant recipients
8. U.S. Liver Transplants Declining
9. Study shows antibiotic improves respiratory function in lung transplant patients
10. UCLA launches first face transplantation program in western US
11. Use of Smokers Lungs for Transplant Has Pros, Cons
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Fecal 'Transplant' to Cure Gut Infection?
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... industry today announced its strategic partnership with Connance, a healthcare industry leader ... two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to provide health systems, hospitals and ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, a ... can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the title layers ... Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose from. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to ... Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to ... fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures ... Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort to ... treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain management ... (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Mass. , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, ... pharmaceutical company developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that ... Russell Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," ... will increase shareholder awareness of our progress in developing ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. , June 23, 2016 ... faced the many challenges of the current process. Many of ... option because of the technical difficulties and high laboratory costs ... would have to offer it at such a high cost ... to afford it. Dr. Parsa Zadeh , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Capricor ... ), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, ... that patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne ... exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects ... third quarter of 2016, and to report top ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: