Nav: Home

Fecal microbiota transplant is safe and effective for patients with ulcerative colitis

April 26, 2017

A single transplant of microbes contained in the stool of a healthy donor is a safe and effective way to increase diversity of good bacteria in the guts of patients with ulcerative colitis, according to new research from Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. The findings suggest that fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) might be an effective treatment for the disease, which causes inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract.

Fecal microbiota transplantation is a procedure in which fecal matter -- which is full of bacteria from the gut -- is collected from a healthy donor, strained and placed in the colon of a patient with inflammatory bowel disease. "The idea is that you can change someone's microbiome, the organisms that colonize the gut," said Dr. Randy Longman, an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and a gastroenterologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. "We introduce good bacteria into the intestines of someone with the disease and hope that it encourages healing."

FMT has been proven effective for patients with Clostridium difficile, a serious bacterial infection of the intestines, but questions remain about its effectiveness as a treatment for other diseases. In a study published April 26 in Inflammatory Bowel Disease, a team of gastroenterologists and researchers from Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian led by Drs. Vinita Jacob, Carl Crawford and Longman present data suggesting that FMT is safe and increases the diversity of microbes in patients with active ulcerative colitis.

"Patients with ulcerative colitis typically have a lower diversity of microbes in their guts," said Dr. Longman, who is also a scientist in the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease and a clinician in the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell and Weill Cornell Medicine. "We know that a more diverse microbiota is correlated with better health, so increasing that diversity may be a key factor in the therapeutic efficacy of FMT for ulcerative colitis."

The researchers used a fecal microbiota preparation (FMP) consisting of stool from two different healthy donors that had been screened and purified. This two-donor preparation was used in order to maximize the diversity of bacteria in the transplant. They then used a colonoscopy to transplant the FMP into the colons of 20 ulcerative colitis patients. After four weeks, the investigators collected fecal samples from the patients and performed rectal biopsies in order to measure the fecal microbiome and immune response after treatment.

The researchers found that after four weeks, the bacterial populations in the intestines of the patients more closely resembled those of the healthy donors than the patients' original microbiomes. In addition, the treatment also resulted in a reduction in the inflammatory response that drives ulcerative colitis. Overall, 35 percent of patients showed a clinical improvement in their symptoms and 15 percent of patients achieved clinical remission (complete lack of symptoms) by the end of the four-week study.

"We still want to know why this treatment helps some patients and not others so that we can find a safer and more reproducible treatment option for a greater majority of patients suffering from ulcerative colitis," said Dr. Crawford, an assistant professor of clinical medicine.

Further studies are necessary to determine how long these positive effects may last in ulcerative colitis patients, the exact bacteria that might be most effective for FMP and the most effective delivery method. This study provides promising results for the emerging role for FMT in ulcerative, Dr. Longman said.

"We saw clear positive effects, both in terms of increased bacterial population and in clinical response. This points to FMT as an exciting possible therapy for people with ulcerative colitis."

Weill Cornell Medicine

Related Bacteria Articles:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.
How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.
Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.
Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.
Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.
Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.
Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.
How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.
The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?
Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.
More Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.