Oral Versus Anal: Analyzing the Best Way to Treat Infections Diarrhea
For the last several years the Canadian BioTechnologist has been bringing you news about advances in microbiome biology. Back in August 2009, we reported that Canada had invested millions of dollars in microbiome research by establishing the Canadian Microbiome Initiative (CMI). At the time, CMI invested $13.275 million towards research focused on microbes that colonize the human body in order to: understand of the composition and distribution of the microbial flora in different body sites; gain new insights on the function of the normal flora in healthy individuals; and probe the links between the human microflora and disease. The story was followed by another round of funding to the tune of $14 Million in 2010 and a more focused round of funding by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation in support of the University of Toronto’s Host-Microbiome Network.
The microbiome is a fascinating example of the symbiotic relationship that exists between humans and their bacterial colonizers. Absence or low levels of bacteria that are normally present in the gut of healthy subjects can result in painfully debilitating conditions such as violent diarrhea and unbearable stomach cramps. Much of the research has focused on ways of reintroducing the missing bacteria into the gut of their bacterial-deficient hosts through a process known as fecal transplantation.
In a new study published in the latest edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association, scientists have now come up with an alternative to the somewhat invasive Fecal Transplant; a fecal pill that an be taken orally. The pill, which is comprised of frozen fecal matter, was shown to relieve morbid symptoms of disease in patients infected with Clostridium difficile, providing relief to 90% of suffers lasting up to eight weeks after the fecal pill administration.
It will be interesting to see which method of treatment is preferred by the majority of Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) patients. While a fecal transplant is certainly more invasive than a pill, there is something about ingesting a fecal matter pill that may just be too difficult for some patients to swallow.
What is your opinion?