Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Pilot study suggests ways to widen access to fecal transplants for C. diff infections


Using frozen stool from healthy, unrelated donors was safe and effective in treating patients with serious, relapsing diarrhea caused by Clostridium difficile, according to a new pilot study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and available online.

Known as fecal microbiota transplantation, the treatment was equally effective whether given via a colonoscope or a nasogastric tube. The findings suggest approaches that may make this promising treatment more readily available to patients.

A growing concern, C. difficile causes 250,000 infections requiring hospitalization and 14,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Infection incidence has tripled in the last 15 years and is responsible for at least $1 billion in excess U.S. medical costs per year.

In an initial feasibility study, Ilan Youngster, MD, and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) treated 20 patients suffering from repeated episodes of C. difficile infection with fecal microbiota transplantation, which helps restore the normal balance of bacteria in the affected person's gut. Fourteen of the patients were cured after one administration of donated stool. Of the remaining six patients, five received a second administration, and four were cured, for an overall cure rate of 90 percent.

Unlike previous studies, which used fresh stools from donors, the team at MGH worked with frozen material from unrelated donors who had been recruited and screened well ahead of time, a "banking" approach that may help overcome current treatment barriers.

"Establishing a repository of prescreened frozen donor stools could make this treatment available for a wider population," the authors noted, as donor recruitment and screening can be lengthy and costly. The Food and Drug Administration is currently determining how it will regulate fecal microbiota transplantation, including what steps clinicians must take to provide it to patients.

For their first administration, patients were assigned to one of two delivery methods, using either a colonoscope or a nasogastric tube, inserted in the nose and down into the stomach. Both appeared to be equally effective. Patients who required a second infusion were allowed to choose between the two methods, and all five chose the nasogastric tube.

"Colonoscopy is a significant procedure requiring sedation," said Elizabeth L. Hohmann, MD, of MGH and a study co-author, while the nasogastric tube method "is an outpatient office procedure."

The study's findings suggest the latter would be a "cost-effective, upper gastrointestinal route" for transplantation, Dr. Hohmann said, particularly for elderly or debilitated patients who may not tolerate a colonoscopy. The researchers are now studying placing the donated material into a frozen capsule, which patients would take orally.


Fast Facts:

1. A significant cause of life-threatening diarrhea, Clostridium difficile is responsible for 250,000 infections requiring hospitalization and 14,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Relapsing infections are a serious problem.

2. This initial feasibility study found that using frozen stool from healthy, unrelated donors was safe and effective in treating a small group of patients with relapsing C. difficile infections, with an overall cure rate of 90 percent.

3. The treatment, known as fecal microbiota transplantation, appeared to be equally effective whether given via a colonoscope or a nasogastric tube.

Editor's note: The authors' affiliations, acknowledgments, and disclosures of financial support and potential conflicts of interests are available in the article, which is embargoed until 12:01 a.m. EDT on Thursday, April 24. To obtain an embargoed copy of the article, please contact Jerica Pitts at or 312-558-1770.

Clinical Infectious Diseases is a leading journal in the field of infectious disease with a broad international readership. The journal publishes articles on a variety of subjects of interest to practitioners and researchers. Topics range from clinical descriptions of infections, public health, microbiology, and immunology to the prevention of infection, the evaluation of current and novel treatments, and the promotion of optimal practices for diagnosis and treatment. The journal publishes original research, editorial commentaries, review articles, and practice guidelines and is among the most highly cited journals in the field of infectious diseases. Clinical Infectious Diseases is an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). Based in Arlington, Va., IDSA is a professional society representing nearly 10,000 physicians and scientists who specialize in infectious diseases. For more information, visit Follow IDSA on Facebook and Twitter.

Jerica Pitts | Eurek Alert!

Further reports about: C. difficile IDSA Infectious MGH feasibility infections microbiota transplants

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>