Your Poop Could Save Lives. (No, Seriously.)
Poop — yes, poop — can be used to effectively treat antibiotic resistant superbugs.
Poop could be the answer scientists have been looking for when it comes to treating antibiotic-resistant infections. But not just any poop — “super poop,” CBC reported.
A recent report, “The Super-Donor Phenomenon in Fecal Microbiota Transplantation,” was published on scientific platform Frontiers, and found that some people’s feces (dubbed super poop) is especially effective in combating certain gut infections.
Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) involves transferring stool from one healthy person into the intestinal tract of another to change the microbial composition in their gut.
FMT has been used to treat internal infections in recent years, and has been especially effective in treating clostridium difficile, commonly called C. difficile, according to the report.
Researchers noted that some stool worked better than others for FMT and are now trying to figure out what is in this above-average stool so that they can then create treatments using its same ingredients — but without having to use feces.
FMT has primarily been used to treat C. difficile, which causes diarrhea and can lead to potentially life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It generally appears after a patient has been on antibiotics that have killed off good microbes in the gut.
In the United States, there are an estimated 453,000 cases of C. diff per year, with 29,300 associated deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fecal transplants seem to provide the missing microbes, which can then fight off the superbug, but scientists have yet to really figure out how this works, according to CBC.
"It has a cure rate higher than 92%, which is amazing for C. difficile, and it works within a couple of hours," Justin O'Sullivan, a molecular biologist who worked on the study, told CBC.
FMT results varied depending on the donors.
In other words, some people were super donors … and therefore had super poop. Researchers discovered that super poop contains a higher number of more diverse microbes and it seems to contain bacteria that works to regulate all gut bacteria, CBC reported.
"If these keystone species can successfully engraft themselves in the patient's gut, it can kickstart processes to change the host's microbiome and lead to a clinical resolution," O'Sullivan said.
Emma Allen Vercoe, a professor in the department of molecular and cellular biology at the University of Guelph, is currently developing a treatment for C. difficile by studying super poop bacteria, according to CBC.
The pill, which is made up of 40 specifies of bacteria from super poop, is currently in clinical trials.
If these pills prove to be successful, Allen-Vercoe believes that the bacteria discovered in the super poop could potentially be used to treat other diseases.
But she warns that more research needs to be done before super poop becomes super normal.