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STATES CHRONICLE – The fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) or stool transplant is a therapy currently used to treat C (Clostridium) difficile infection, and it might also be beneficial for ulcerative colitis (UC).
According to a study presented at the largest gathering of specialists in the field of endoscopy, gastroenterology, hematology, and gastrointestinal surgery, the Digestive Disease Week 2016, this new approach of transplanting stool might prove beneficial for sufferers of ulcerative colitis too.
Australia researchers have found that one in four patients intolerant to ulcerative colitis conventional treatments responded positively to the stool transplant. With the fecal microbiota transplantation treatment, the patients reported symptoms disappeared and the doctors confirmed improved digestive tracts without the use of steroids or anti-inflammatories.
What happens is that stool transplanted from healthy patients into the sick patients alters the composition of the gut bacteria bypassing the drivers of the UC.
Gastroenterologist Sudarshan Paramsothy with the University of New South Wales, Australia said the researchers aim to treat the “underlying cause of ulcerative colitis, not just the symptoms,” which is a common current practice.
According to Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, almost 700,000 Americans suffer from chronicle ulcerative colitis, a disease believed to stem from a defective immune system. This condition causes the colon to be inflamed and develop tiny ulcers that in turn give patients persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloody stools.
Stool transplants or FMTs are a standard treatment just for the C difficile, a virulent, and often life-threatening gastrointestinal infection.
The participants (forty participants) in the Australian study received healthy fecal donor transplant from at least three individuals per participant to prevent chances of one single donor influencing the results.
The stool donation was homogenized, filtered then frozen. It was subsequently delivered as a liquid directly into the patient’s rectum. The risk of infection was minimized through screening history, and stool and blood pathogens testing.
US expert, Doctor Balfour Sartor, director of the Broad Research Medical Program for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation said the results (27% of the patients became UC symptoms free) were remarkable and that now there’s a need to determine the long-term effects of ulcerative colitis FMT therapy.
“One of the defects is (…) we don’t know what happened after” the stool transplant treatment, said Sartor.
Image source: Wikimedia