New frontiers of fecal microbiota transplantation

August 14, 2014

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) is one of the most innovative new treatments of the 21st century. Experts believe that this procedure, which transplants microbes from one human gut to another through fecal matter, could offer the cure to a vast range of diseases and shed new light on the role of the microbiome in gastrointestinal diseases. New research presented this weekend at the American Gastroenterological Association's 2014 James W. Freston Conference in Chicago, IL, highlights significant advances in this field, and confirms the promise of FMT to advance our understanding of GI disease and aid in the development of new microbiome-based therapeutics to treat a broad range of GI disorders.

"The 2014 AGA James W. Freston Conference promises to be an important and stimulating meeting in microbiome and FMT research and technology," said course directors Stacy A. Kahn, MD, and David T. Rubin, MD, AGAF, both from The University of Chicago Medicine. "This is the first international conference on FMT and brings together leaders from across the field and will highlight advances in basic science and clinical research. In addition, the conference will also create a forum to discuss the ethical and regulatory issues in this emerging field."

FMT Beyond C. Difficile

While FMT has been proven to be safe and effective for patients with recurrent C. difficile infection, its efficacy in treating other diseases is still in question. Data presented at the AGA James W. Freston Conference will provide evidence that FMT is an effective treatment for a range of other GI disorders. One study reports that 70 percent of subjects who received FMT for refractory irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) had a resolution and/or improved symptoms. Patients reported improved abdominal pain (72 percent), bowel habit (69 percent), dyspepsia (67 percent), bloating (50 percent) and flatus (42 percent). Quality of life was also improved in 46 percent of patients.

Data also confirm the potential for FMT in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), both ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. A study out of Montefiore Medical Center finds that colonoscopic FMT, followed by self-administered fecal enemas, resulted in improved symptoms and decreased medication requirements, especially in IBD patients with concomitant C. difficile infection.

On the Horizon: Orally Delivered Microbes

FMT has multiple liabilities, including invasive delivery, cost and complexity of donor management, variability of FMT preparation, and the potential to transmit pathogens. A new study, to be presented at the meeting, holds the answer to these challenges—an orally delivered community of microbes. SER—-109, developed by Seres Health, Inc., proved to be remarkably efficacious and safe with a 100 percent cure rate for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection in the study population. The pill works to rapidly repair the microbial imbalance cause by chronic antibiotic treatment for C. difficile by inducing the formation of a diverse and healthy microbiome. This pill has the potential to replace FMT and maximize utility for clinicians and patients.

New Understanding of the FMT Patient

Due to the "yuck" factor, some patients and clinicians are reluctant to consider FMT. New data to be presented at the AGA James W. Freston Conference sheds light on the factors that lead to acceptance of FMT. The study found that patients who have children are more likely to accept FMT, suggesting that parents may be more willing to try emerging procedures for the sake of their children. Having a college degree was also a significant factor, implying that a better understanding of the disease may affect one's willingness to undergo FMT. The main concern for undergoing FMT was the risk of disease transmission. Since FMT is a potentially life-saving procedure, medical practitioners should use this knowledge when counseling patients and their families on the decision to undergo FMT.

Explore further: Article examines fecal microbiota transplantation

Related Stories

Article examines fecal microbiota transplantation

August 22, 2013
Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has emerged as a highly effective treatment for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, with very early experience suggesting that it may also play a role in treating ...

Scientists characterize effects of transplanted fecal microbiota

November 26, 2013
Scientists at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and physicians at Sinai Hospital, Baltimore, MD, have found that restoring the normal, helpful bacteria of the gut and intestines ...

Fecal microbial transplantation found to be possible treatment

April 5, 2013
A Spectrum Health clinical trial has found that fecal microbial transplantation (FMT) has resulted in the improvement or absence of symptoms in most pediatric patients with active ulcerative colitis.

Fecal microbiota transplants effective treatment for C. difficile, Inflammatory Bowel Disease

October 31, 2011
Growing evidence for the effectiveness of fecal microbiota transplants as a treatment for patients with recurrent bouts of Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) associated diarrhea is presented in three studies -- including ...

Use of frozen material for fecal transplant successfully treats C. difficile infection

April 24, 2014
A pilot study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators may lead to greater availability and acceptability of an unusual treatment for a serious medical problem – use of fecal material from healthy donors to ...

Patients with bowel disease eager to test 'fecal' therapy

June 2, 2011
The first study of the social and ethical issues associated with a provocative approach to treatment for ulcerative colitis has found that the majority of potential patients are eager for what is now called "fecal microbiota ...

Recommended for you

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

Scientists propose novel therapy to lessen risk of obesity-linked disease

July 24, 2017
With obesity related illnesses a global pandemic, researchers propose in the Journal of Clinical Investigation using a blood thinner to target molecular drivers of chronic metabolic inflammation in people eating high-fat ...

Raccoon roundworm—a hidden human parasite?

July 24, 2017
The raccoon that topples your trashcan and pillages your garden may leave more than just a mess. More likely than not, it also contaminates your yard with parasites—most notably, raccoon roundworms (Baylisascaris procyonis).

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.