Posted on 2 November 2020
Longevity briefs provides a short summary of a novel research, medicine, or technology that caught the attention of our researchers in Oxford, due to its potential to improve our health, wellbeing, and longevity.
Why is this research important: Clostridium difficile (C.diff) is a bacterium that causes inflammation of the colon (colitis). It typically affects those with weakened immune systems, or those whose gut microbiomes have been compromised due to antibiotic treatment. Healthy gut bacteria compete with C.diff and thereby protect the gut against infection. For this reason, transplanting gut bacteria from a healthy donor to a sick patient is commonly used to treat C.diff infections. However, the long term safety and effectiveness of this procedure has not been well described.
What did the researchers do: Last month the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) released results from the largest trial to date on the effectiveness and safety of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT). The study enrolled 259 participants receiving FMT in 20 different clinics across the United States and followed them up to assess how effective and safe the treatment was.
Key takeaway(s) from this research: 90% of those receiving FMT were cured of C.diff infection within one month. Of those initially cured who were followed up for 6 months, only 4% suffered reinfections (around 17% of patients typically suffer a reinfection within 2 months, according to the CDC). Furthermore, very few serious side effects were reported, and only 2 patients suffered infections that were thought to be related to the procedure.