Fecal microbiota transplantation could treat multiple diseases

Fecal microbiota transplantation, a treatment found to be effective for recurrent Clostridium difficile infection, could be used to treat other gastrointestinal and non-GI diseases, according to an article recently published in GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.

Researchers from the Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, New York, collected data from multiple studies and found that FMT was a rational and relatively simple approach to C. difficile infections when compared to first-line antibiotics. While patients initially respond to antibiotic treatment, recurrence rates are between 15 percent and 35 percent.

Using FMT, however, resulted in an average 92 percent cure rate of recurrent C. difficile, according to several case reports, trials and systematic reviews. The different studies showed a cure rate range of between 81 percent and 100 percent.

In the only long-term follow-up study of FMT, patients experienced a 91 percent primary cure rate and a 98 percent secondary cure rate. Patients in the study reported symptoms for an average of 11 months prior to FMT and 74 percent of the patients reported resolution of diarrhea within three days of treatment.

FMT was also found to be successful at treating other GI disorders like constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

FMT is the process by which doctors infuse a suspension of fecal matter from a healthy individual into the GI tract of another person, typically during a colonoscopy.

C. difficile is a bacterium that causes colitis, an inflammation of the colon, and diarrhea following the intake of antibiotics. Infection with the bacterium can occur as a consequence of antibiotic use or other stresses. An estimated 500,000 to three million cases of C. difficile infection occur annually in U.S. hospitals and long-term care facilities.