Human stool transplant shows the way for treating colon germ

The human stool or feces have now become an antidote for the patients who are hit hard by the bacterium Clostridium difficile also called the C. diff bacterium. Even though, the illness from C. diff commonly affects older adults in hospitals or long-term care facilities. It is estimated that about three million Americans are infected annually with this bacterium. Most people have no symptoms but about 500,000 or more than half of them aged 65 or older develop abdominal cramps, diarrhea, fever and inflamed colons due to this bacterium.

As many as thirty thousand Americans die each year from the C. diff bacterium usually after recurrences of infection. The infection is due to the result of taking antibiotics that wipe out the friendly bacteria in the colon that usually keeps the C. diff bacterium under control or at bay. Once established the C. diff bacterium can produce toxins that attack the lining of the intestine and toxins destroy healthy cells, produce inflammatory cells and decaying cellular debris inside the colon.

Various treatment procedures involve usage or taking of drugs and vaccines manufactured by drug manufacturers such as Merck & Co and Sanofi. However, the growing numbers of gastroenterologists are excited and placing their bets on the human stool or fecal transplants. The human stool transplant in an experimental setting has consistently cured about 85 to 90 percent of patients who have multiple episodes of C. diff.

The usual procedure involved in human stool transplant comprises of stool from a healthy donor which is emulsified and is mixed with saline or water and then transferred via a nasal tube or enema to the gut of the seriously ill C. diff patient where the healthy fecal bacteria helps in restoring the balance to the patient’s bowels. The first recorded stool transplant were given in 1958 to four patients with inflamed colons.

In the opinion of Dr. Moshe Rubin – head of the gastroenterology at the New York Hospital Queens, most of the patients prefer the simplicity of the pill or injection but for those who are suffering from multiple bouts, the fecal transplants could become the mainstay treatment. In future, one may see stool banks dotting the landscape just as blood banks and sperm banks that are now a common phenomenon.

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