Fecal Microbiota Transplants Successfully Treat C Diff Infection

Fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) are highly successful in treating patients with Clostridioides difficile (C diff) infections, according to a study by the University of Birmingham.

Fecal microbiota transplants (FMT) are highly successful in treating patients with Clostridioides difficile (C diff) infections, according to a study by the University of Birmingham. Further, FMT is more effective at treating C diff than antibiotic treatments, especially in cases in which the condition has recurred, according to the study.

During FMT, good bacteria in the feces of a healthy donor are transplanted into the gut of the patient with the infection. Results from the University of Birmingham’s Microbiome Treatment Center have shown that in 78% of cases, the patient’s diarrhea had stopped and not returned 90 days after treatment.

C diff infections occur when good gut bacteria are killed by antibiotics given for other infections, resulting in severe diarrhea and abdominal pain, and it is potentially fatal in elderly patients. Antibiotics can effectively treat the first episode of C diff, but 10% to 20% of patients do not respond, and the infection recurs. In these recurrent cases, success rates for antibiotic treatment can be as low as 30%.

The University of Birmingham’s Microbiome Treatment Center is the first to be licensed in the UK for FMT preparation by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The center will provide support for researchers working on how FMT treatment produces a cure in C diff infection as well as conditions such as ulcerative colitis.

"This work has turned an unregulated potentially dangerous method of fecal transplantation into a national service providing rapid, safe regulated, life-saving treatment for a serious disease affecting thousands of patients in the UK," said Peter Hawkey, professor of Clinical and Public Health Bacteriology at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Microbiology and Infection, in a press release.

REFERENCE

Fecal microbiota transplants successfully treat patients with C. diff [news release]. EurekAlert; March 15, 2020. Accessed March 10, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-03/uob-fmt031320.php