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New support for fecal transplants (update) Special

By Tim Sandle     Jun 14, 2013 in Science
Fecal therapy is a new method of treating people with infection. However, it is still at the early stages. Now a leading U.S. medical association has come out in support.
Earlier this year the Digital Journal reported that scientists had shown that fecal transplants, transferring the stool of a healthy person into the gut of someone with an antibiotic resistant microbe infection, have a high success rate.
News then followed that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had stepped and declared that the experimental transplants required review and regulation. However, later reversing previous guidance, the FDA will now not require an investigational new drug application (IND) for the use of fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) to treat C. difficile infection not responding to standard therapies.
So what is a fecal transplant? According to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the process of infusing a the stool of a healthy person into the intestines of another (fecal transplant) was successful in curing 15 out of 16 patients suffering from a recurrent diarrheal infection of the problem microbe Clostridium difficile. This bacterium is one of the so-called problem bacteria, noted for being resistant to many antibiotics.
The argument for this treatment is that the microbial population (the microbiome) from the health person will challenge and outgrow the unwanted bacteria (in this case C. difficile).
In a further development, based on discussions with with the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), the Digital Journal can reveal that the AGA see fecal transplants as "a promising treatment." This means that the AGA has turned its attention on the U.S. regulators. According to the AGA "the AGA urges FDA to streamline the process to get this promising treatment to patients."
The AGA added that "AGA appreciates the importance of FDA’s oversight to ensure the right patients are being treated with FMT, that it is done safely, and that patients consent to treatment and are followed for adverse events. However, we recognize the urgent need for patients to receive effective treatment of their infection."
With AGA pressure, the use of fecal transplants as a mainstream process could be closer than previously thought.
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