Recent research has shown that stool transplants are the key to healing the colons of ulcerative colitis patients. According to Australian scientists, this discovery can extend the transplants in various ways. Fecal matter is transferred from healthy donors into patients to alter the composition of their gut bacteria.
According to Dr. Sudarshan Paramsothy, study author and gastroenterologist at University of New South Wales, these findings were not such a surprise, because other previous studies and experiments proved that fecal microbiota transplantation might be successful in treating ulcerative colitis.
Plus, thanks to this new study, stool transplant might be a very promising future method to treat ulcerative colitis patients. There are around 700,000 Americans who suffer from ulcerative colitis. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease which triggers from an abnormal immune system response.
It causes an inflammation of colon lining which develops tiny, open ulcers. The symptoms are persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloody stools. Until now, stool transplants have been the regular treatment of the life-threatening virulent Clostridium painful gastrointestinal infections.
During the study, Paramsothy and his team analyzed 81 patients suffering from ulcerative colitis, whose disease had resisted to standard treatments such as anti-inflammatory medications and steroids. Scientists split the participants into two groups, 41 of them receiving fecal transplants for eight weeks and the others only a placebo.
At the end of the eighth week, 27 percent of the patients had no longer ulcerative colitis symptoms and their colon lining was healed or substantially better. Only 8 percent of the patients from the placebo group, meaning 8 percent, had these results.
The scientist also established how many patients were reported as symptom-free, without colon observation, and learned that 20 percent of the placebo group achieved this goal compared with a higher rate of 44 percent of stool transplant patients from the other group.
The study will be made official at Digestive Disease Week, Monday in San Diego. According to a Dr. R. Balfour Sartor, director of the Broad Research Medical Program for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, the study’s results are fantastic, despite the ‘yuck’ factor regarding the stool transplants.
However, government agencies, patients, and clinicians need to be convinced first that stool transplants are not only effective but also safe. Therefore, more research is needed to establish what are the long-term effects of this therapeutic option.