Transplants of fecal matter from healthy donors to patients with intestine and colon problems may be the best solution to treat severe colitis, among other infections. The study was published today by the University of New South Wales, Australia. The findings also showed that this trend of stool transplant may be even used for a wide range of affections. The study will be presented at San Diego’s Digestive Disease Week to share these findings in the medical sphere.

Most scientists involved in the study are Ph.D. doctors specialized in gastrointestinal medicine. They are all from Australia’s most relevant medical research centers.

Ulcerative colitis could be treated with stool transplant
Researchers from the University of New South Wales suggest that fecal matter transplants could be an effective treatment for severe colitis and other affections. Credit:

The fecal bacteriotherapy involves transferring fecal bacteria from a healthy patient to a recipient in order to restore the colonic flora. The fecal bacteria can be inserted into the patient through different mechanisms, including the use of an enema, orogastric tubes or orally in the form of a capsule.

The investigation

The investigation was called “Faecal Microbiota Transplantation for Chronic Active Ulcerative Colitis – A Randomized Double Blind Controlled Study of Efficacy & Safety.” Its main purpose was to determine if the stool transplant or fecal microbiota transplantation is safe for treating chronic active ulcerative colitis and inflammatory bowel disease effectively. Researchers made it possible through a controlled trial of patients with that affection. It was an interventional study in order to determine the safety and efficacy of the treatment.

The study was initially executed in November 2013 and used data from random patients that were divided into two groups. The first group received fecal bacteriotherapy with stool transplants. The second group received placebos. Both treatments lasted about 8 weeks and the mechanism used for the transfer was the use of enemas, which contained the filtered stool as a liquid infusion.

The criteria to include the patients involved having the affection for at least 3 months, and that the ulcerative colitis showed to be active in the mild to moderate range. Patients that had surgery, recent antibiotic ingestion or were under immunosuppressive therapy, were not allowed to participate in the study.

44 percent of patients treated with the stool transplant ended up with reduced colitis symptoms and about 27 percent showed a considerable improvement in the healing of the colon. Some patients even healed completely. However, those patients treated with placebos remained without achieving this goal, and only 8 percent showed considerable improvement.

In those who received the stool transplant, fecal bacteria came from at least three different healthy donors to avoid the possibility of using a single’s donor in order to observe different outcomes. Donors’ stool and blood must be studied and tested to detect pathogens or other risky features in the clinical history of the donor, in order to avoid the risk of transmission of infections, since transferring biological matter into a patient is a delicate process.

However, this is a preliminary study in the fecal bacteriotherapy or stool transplant and its relationship with long-term effect in patients with severe colitis and other intestinal or colon diseases. According to the Colitis Foundation of America, both patients and physicians should be absolutely convinced that this therapy is safe and effective. This investigation is the first step in order to provide a modern and safe solution to patients with colitis. Even government agencies have approved this mechanism as an effective treatment.

More about the medical use of fecal matter transfers

The stool transplant is being used in the medical industry to treat clostridium difficile infection (CDI). Results have proved that this therapy is more simple and effective that the ingestion of antibiotics. Nevertheless, the main medical used of the stool transfer is to treat ulcerative colitis and other common gastrointestinal diseases.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic disease that causes inflammation and ulcers on the inner skin of the large intestine and is an affection that becomes worse over time. The usual treatment was the combined ingestion of medication to reduce symptoms with, in the most severe cases, surgery to treat the ulcers. This is how the stool transplant provides a safer solution in the health care system to patients with ulcerative colitis. Although the first reaction in patients may be a disgust sensation and concern considering the slightly invasive mechanism that can be used (enema, for example) there is a trend among health care providers to prescribe this treatment. The stool transplant revealed not having relevant side effects and the benefits are overwhelming the scientific sphere.

Source: Clinical Trials