We first brought you the news that fecal transplants were a thing last year, and now we’re happy to report that a bank – a poo bank, if you will – has opened.
The bank will provide US doctors willing to do the procedure with safe fecal matter from screened donors.
Fecal transplants – it’s the kind of topic you can make light of, but on a more serious note, this revolutionary process can save lives.
It’s used for patients suffering from C.Diff (more on that below) but one of the main issues previously has been finding appropriate donors.
That’s where OpenBiome comes in. It’s a nonprofit organisation, which has already provided more than 135 frozen donations to 13 hospitals since September.
Nice one OpenBiome.
Poo. Faeces. Excrement.
Let me explain why I’m writing about poo.
When your day job involves writing for an online media outlet, you often find yourself going the weirdest of internet rabbit holes in the name of research. And often you’ll come out the other side enlightened, disturbed and with an overwhelming desire to curl up in a foetal position and think only of rainbows and unicorns.
Case in point: faecal transplants, which involve transplanting one person’s poo into another person’s body.
Following link after link after link I came across the Power of Poop website and became engrossed in the taboo treatment of stool transplants. And as it turns out they’re changing lives.
I know, I know, you have questions that need to be answered – that’s why we’re going to take this one from the top with a Q&A style cheatsheet (apologies in advance if you were eating lunch):
What the what what?
Um, why would you even want to do that?
It’s to help restore intestinal bacterial flora wiped out by antibiotics in diseases (commonly contracted in hospital) such as Clostridium Difficile (C. Diff.) and increasingly in other inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohns Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
The best case scenario for C. Diff sufferers is debilitating diarrhoea and worse case is intestinal disease – it’s estimated C. Diff kills around 30,000 Americans each year. So yeah, FMT’s 94% success rate (compared to 31% with vancomycin) is changing lives.