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Interior life: UCLA doctors use the body's own microorganisms to fight disease

This may strike many people as distasteful, but human stool now is used as a medical therapy against at least one dangerous infection. It is happening at UCLA and at a small number of other major medical centers, where processed stool from healthy donors is being introduced into the gastrointestinal tracts of patients with Clostridium difficile, or C. diff. The infection is most commonly acquired in the hospital, causing diarrhea, intestinal pain and cramps, fever and potentially worse — 14,000 people die from C. diff in the U.S. each year. While the cure may sound worse than the disease, the therapy, known as fecal microbial transplant (FMT), has been shown to be highly effective; by infusing the patient via colonoscopy with normal gut bacteria, the spectrum of intestinal microbes is dramatically altered, essentially overwhelming and suppressing the pathogen. In 2013, the New England Journal of Medicine published results from a randomized, controlled trial comparing FMT with vancomycin, the standard treatment for patients with recurrent C. diff. The study was halted after an interim analysis found FMT to be substantially more beneficial.         Only now are scientists beginning to appreciate the extent to which the 100-trillion (give or take) bacteria and other microbes that reside within our bodies keep us healthy, contribute to disease or, as in the case of FMT, can potentially be manipulated to cure what ails us. At UCLA alone, rec...
Source: UCLA Newsroom: Health Sciences - Category: Universities & Medical Training Source Type: news

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