Patients who had antibiotic resistance and were treated with fecal transplant had on average fewer blood infections and were easier to treat.
The intestines are sometimes called the second brain because their condition affects our health and even our mood. In recent studies, researchers showed that fecal microbial transplantation can cure patients suffering from antibiotic-resistant infections. In this technique, the fecal matter is taken from a healthy donor before being transplanted to a sick patient. The results should have been presented during Digestive Disease Week, which was to be held in Chicago from May 2 to 5, 2020. Because of the coronavirus crisis, the event was canceled, but the study will still be published in Gastroenterology in May, according to the Eurekalert website!
Twenty patients participated in the study, some of whom were waiting for a stem cell transplant and others for a kidney transplant. They were all infected with multi-resistant organisms such as Escherichia coli, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, or extended-spectrum beta-lactamases, which are resistant to most antibiotics. Researchers have transplanted fecal matter from healthy donors into the intestines of these patients.
Various positive effects
The participants were followed for six months after the study, after which the researchers examined their general state of health. To compare and measure the effectiveness of this medical technique, the researchers did not use a control group but compared the condition of the patients before and six months after the study. Forty-one percent of the patients had no traces of bacteria in their bodies at the end of the study. Other positive effects were found on a larger scale, such as fewer days in the hospital, fewer bloodstream infections and easier treatment of infections. According to the researchers, these good transplantation results are not only associated with the elimination of resistant bacteria, but also with microbiota-specific mechanisms. Further tests will be necessary to understand these results.
“Many of these patients have repeatedly taken heavy antibiotics and highly toxic drugs and have been regularly hospitalized.” confirms Benjamin Mullish, a researcher at Imperial College London. They stopped working or some of their family members had to stop working to take care of them, which had a significant impact on their quality of life. After this experimental treatment, we saw many people who could work again, play with their grandchildren, and generally have a better quality of life. “
Repeated benefits of fecal transplantation
As early as April 2019, studies showed the advantages of fecal transplants compared to antibiotic treatment. Fifty patients with an infection of the Clostridium difficile took part in the study. Fecal transplantation contributed to their treatment and prevented an average hospital stay of 17 days per year.
A few months later, Canadian researchers found a link between the intestinal system and depression in mice. They transplanted the intestinal flora of depressed people, and soon the rodents themselves began to experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. Research must continue on humans.