Cambridge stool bank helps meet growing need for fecal transplants
A new post by Carolyn Johnson in the Science in Mind section of Boston.com describes the proposal put forth by OpenBiome co-founder Mark Smith, Dr. Colleen Kelly, and Professor Eric J. Alm in Nature that stool for fecal transplants should be regulated not as a drug but similarly to tissue or blood. Here is an excerpt:
“A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University proposed Wednesday that fecal transplants be regulated similarly to tissue or blood.
In fecal transplants, a slurry of feces containing the gut bacteria from a healthy donor are implanted into the intestine, either through a nasal tube or a procedure similar to a colonoscopy. Official guidelines about how to screen donors and ensure samples are safe will help bring clarity and uniformity to a field that has become something of a Wild West. Researchers are concerned because YouTube videos now offer guidance on DIY fecal transplants for at-home use, and misinformation is abundant. The team that wrote the study has received questions from people suffering from gastrointestinal infections who wonder whether their pets could be used as donors. (They cannot.)”
The full text is here.