Public Release: 

FMT now available in capsule form: could this be the end of antibiotics in C. difficile?

United European Gastroenterology

IMAGE

IMAGE: Professor Antonio Gasbarrini from the A. Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, Italy, who will be presenting his research at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain later this... view more

Credit: UEG Media

(Barcelona, October 6, 2015) A new capsule form of faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) has raised hopes that this effective treatment for Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection and other bowel conditions might soon become mainstream. A recently-reported study confirmed that capsules containing a frozen suspension of faecal material harvested from healthy unrelated donors was well tolerated and effectively resolved diarrhoea in 90% of patients with difficult-to-treat C. difficile infection.

Professor Antonio Gasbarrini from the A. Gemelli University Hospital in Rome, Italy, who will be presenting his research at the 23rd United European Gastroenterology Week in Barcelona, Spain later this month, believes that an oral formulation that simplifies FMT is a major step forward. "FMT is an excellent treatment for C. difficile infection, but traditional methods are time-consuming and technically challenging," he says. "Advances in the preparation and delivery of FMT will lead to its wider acceptance as a safe and effective treatment for C. difficile infection that could supersede antibiotics."

C. difficile infection challenges

C. difficile infection is a type of bacterial infection that causes severe diarrhoea, intestinal inflammation and cell death. The infection is spread via the ingestion of spores, which are passed out of the body in the faeces and can survive for many weeks or months. Standard therapy for C. difficile infection includes the use of antibiotics, however, around one-third of individuals will have a recurrent infection and many of these will have multiple recurrences. The consequences of recurrences of C. difficile infection can be severe, resulting in life-threatening illness and frequent hospitalisations.

FMT in C. difficile infection

FMT from a healthy donor to an individual with C. difficile infection can restore the healthy gut microbiota and resolve symptoms. FMT has traditionally been performed using a liquid suspension of faeces from a related donor, which is transplanted into the body using a nasogastric tube, endoscopy, enema or colonoscopy. A recent systematic review of the literature concluded that FMT was both effective and safe for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection, yet many hospitals have failed to embrace the technique or offer it as a potential treatment option.

"We believe that FMT is an excellent therapeutic option for patients who have failed to respond to antibiotic treatments or who have severe or multiple recurrences," said Prof. Gasbarrini. "Traditional routes of administration all have their drawbacks, so we are excited by the prospect of a capsule formulation."

In the recently-reported study of an FMT capsule, researchers in the US recruited 20 patients with C. difficile infection who had either failed to respond to antibiotic medications or had been hospitalized at least twice as a result of severe symptoms. The capsules were prepared using frozen liquid stool samples from carefully screened unrelated donors and administered to the patients on two consecutive days. After the first 2 days of treatment, 14 of the 20 patients (70%) experienced a resolution of their symptoms and remained symptom free for 8 weeks. After a second course of treatment, four of the remaining patients became symptom free, resulting in an overall 90% rate of symptom resolution.

"Although larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, this study could certainly lead to more widespread use of FMT in the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection," said Prof. Gasbarrini.

###

References

1. Youngster I, et al. JAMA 2014;312(17):1772-78

2. Cammarota G, et al. J Clin Gastroenterol 2014; 48(8):693-702.

Notes to Editors

For further information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Gasbarrini, please contact Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

About UEG Week

UEG Week is the largest and most prestigious gastroenterology meeting in Europe and has developed into a global congress. It attracts over 14,000 participants each year, from more than 120 countries, and numbers are steadily rising. UEG Week provides a forum for basic and clinical scientists from across the globe to present their latest research in digestive and liver diseases, and also features a two-day postgraduate course that brings together top lecturers in their fields for a weekend of interactive learning.

Press may register for UEG Week by following this link or calling the UEG Media Team on +44 (0)1444 811099: https://www.ueg.eu/press/ueg-week-press-centre/press-registration/

About UEG

UEG, or United European Gastroenterology, is a professional non-profit organisation combining all the leading European societies concerned with digestive diseases. Together, its member societies represent over 22,000 specialists, working across medicine, surgery, paediatrics, gastrointestinal oncology and endoscopy. This makes UEG the most comprehensive organisation of its kind in the world, and a unique platform for collaboration and the exchange of knowledge.

To advance standards of gastroenterological care and knowledge across Europe and the world, UEG offers numerous activities and initiatives, including:

  • UEG Week, the biggest congress of its kind in Europe, and one of the two largest in the world.

  • UEG Education, the universal source of knowledge in gastroenterology, providing online and classroom courses, a huge online library and delivering the latest GI news, fostering debate and discussion

  • Training Support, funding for innovative training and educational programmes, as well as international scientific and professional co-operations

  • UEG Journal, published bi-monthly, covering translational and clinical studies from all areas of gastroenterology

  • EU Affairs, promoting research, prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of digestive diseases, and helping develop an effective health policy for Europe

Find out more about UEG's work by visiting http://www.ueg.eu or contact: Luke Paskins on +44 (0)1444 811099 or media@ueg.eu

Follow UEG on Twitter: @UEGMedia

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.