Fecal transplant may treat ulcerative colitis

Toronto, July 3 (IANS) Fecal matter transplantation may be a useful tool in the fight against ulcerative colitis (UC), a chronic, debilitating inflammatory bowel condition, recent studies from McMaster University in Canada show.

UC is characterised by symptoms including bloody stools, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, weight loss and malnutrition.

One study published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases found that UC can be controlled by the type of bacteria that inhabits the gut.

“Our animal research provides insight that selected bacterial groups, involved in gut health, are important for protecting the colon against injury and inflammation,” said lead researcher Elena Verdu, associate professor of medicine.

Another study published in the journal Gastroenterology explored the safety and efficacy of fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), which involves transplanting gut fecal bacteria from healthy people into patients with UC.

“FMT induces remission in a significantly greater percentage of patients with active UC than placebo,” the study said.

The study in patients with ulcerative colitis is the first randomised trial of fecal microbiota transplantation in adults with ulcerative colitis and shows that this therapy may work, its authors said.

The effect of fecal transplant seems to be dependent on the sort of bacteria that is in the donor stool, which fits with the observations of Verdu’s animal study.

The team recruited 75 patients with a flare up of their UC and randomised them to fecal transplant therapy given as an enema derived from stool donated by an anonymous healthy donor once per week for six weeks, or a placebo consisting of a water enema.

They found 24 percent were in remission in the fecal transplant group compared to five percent in the placebo group.

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