BACK AND FORTH: POOP TRANSPLANTS SAVE THE DAY
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 may treat patients suffering from recurrent Clostridium difficile infections.
Transplanting fecal matter of healthy donors into patients with recurrent C. difficile infection (RCDI) appears to restore normal bacterial composition and resolve infection.
C. difficile, one of the most common hospital-acquired infections, is responsible for a large fraction of antibiotic-associated diarrhea. The rate of RCDI after standard antibiotic therapy is about 20 percent, and is even higher in patients who receive additional antibiotic regimens.
Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has recently gained attention as a viable treatment option for patients with RCDI because it aims to restore a normal, functional intestinal bacterial mix in the patient. FMT has been highly successful in treating RCDI.
“This study helps underscore the importance of the microbiome in maintaining health and demonstrates that good bacteria play an integral role in immune defenses against disease,” says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “These findings also provide a potential therapeutic model for other diseases that have been linked to changes in the human intestinal microbiota, such as obesity and diabetes.”