A new microbiome pill to treat C. diff

A paper recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows the results of using a microbiome pill in treating C. diff infections.  In the article, the researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital created oral pills containing fecal samples.  Fecal material was first acquired from donors and then screened using common blood screening techniques.  The pills were created by blending the fecal samples with saline then straining the liquid and adding it to pills before freezing for preservation.  

20 patients suffering from C. diff were then given 15 pills on two consecutive days.  14 of 20 patients recovered from their symptoms after just 1 treatment with the pills.  In the other 6 cases, 5 recovered after a second treatment 8 weeks later.  Only 1 of the 20 patients was not symptom free after 2 treatments and none of the patients suffered from any recognized side effects.  It should be noted that the study did not have a control group treated with placebos.

This study has important implications on traditional fecal microbiota transplants (FMTs).  Currently, the rectal introduction of FMTs has implicit dangers, especially if not performed by a medical professional.  An oral pill FMT is less invasive, and allows for easier storage and administration.

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