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Fecal microbial transplant for treatment of colon disease

Fecal microbial transplant for treatment of colon disease

Posted June. 08, 2017 07:13,   

Updated June. 08, 2017 07:20


A new medical technique is drawing attention from everyone for transplanting stool. Korea’s Severance Hospital has announced, “For the first time in Korea, we will begin fecal microbial transplants, whereby a stool sample of a healthy donor will be transplanted into the patient in order to balance the level of microorganisms in intestines.” The hospital has also organized a task force team consisting of doctors specialized in gastroenterology, infectious diseases and laboratory medicine.

Fecal microbial transplant is a type of therapy to place stool into the patient’s intestine. A stool sample is specially processed in order to produce a solution mixed with microbial organisms residing in intestines. The solution is transplanted into the patient through endoscopy or enema. In short, a stool sample of a healthy donor is frozen quickly to extract good bacteria and is then transplanted into the patient’s intestine for treatment of colon diseases. The technique has been officially approved and used in Europe, the U.S. and Canada. Furthermore, researchers have already capsulated microorganisms from stool samples for consumption.

“Fecal microbial transplants will be used as an alternative therapy for patients with inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome” said Professor Park Soo-jeong of the Department of Gastroenterology at Severance Hospital. One of the major challenges is to get healthy stool samples. For example, a stool bank is opened in the U.S. to collect stool samples from healthy donors. Nevertheless, not enough amount of stool has been donated and hospitals have to ask for stool from the patient’s family or relatives. “Korea’s first stool bank is currently under discussion with a long-term plan,” Park said.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com