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

act 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


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