(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) For patients with Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), a persistent and potentially deadly bacterial illness, severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting are an everyday event. This particularly virulent infection is prone to recurrence, even after multiple courses of expensive antibiotics, and treatment options are limited for patients who continually relapse or develop antibiotic resistance.
Now, a new National Institutes of Health research grant awarded to Colleen Kelly, M.D., a gastroenterologist with the Center for Women's Gastrointestinal Medicine at the Women's Medicine Collaborative, and co-investigator Lawrence Brandt, M.D., from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York, will test whether an unconventional yet promising treatment known as fecal bacteriotherapy, or fecal transplantation, is an effective therapy for patients with relapsing C. difficile.
While it sounds unpleasant, previous research suggests fecal transplantation, which involves transplanting healthy donor stool into the patient's colon during a colonoscopy, is extremely successful; according to published case studies, the procedure has "cured" relapsing C. difficile in 89 percent of patients without any complications. However, few physicians know about the procedure, which has been around for more than 50 years, and to date there have been no published prospective clinical trials of fecal transplant for C. difficile.
Kelly's research will be the first randomized controlled clinical trial of this procedure as a treatment for relapsing C. difficile.
"Our goal is to clearly demonstrate to both the medical community and health insurers that fecal transplant is an viable, safe, inexpensive, and ultimately curative treatment for patients with relapsing C. difficile," said Kelly. "We hope this research is the first step toward developing standard treatment protocol
|Contact: Jessica Collins Grimes|