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uBiome and OpenBiome Partner for Microbiome Study in FMT Patients

We’re excited to announce that uBiome is partnering with OpenBiome to study the microbiome of patients undergoing fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) as a treatment for Clostridium difficile infections (C. diff).

“This study is the first of its kind to examine the results of FMT treatment on a large scale,” says uBiome CEO Jessica Richman. “We expect hundreds of participants to contribute to this groundbreaking research, and hope that it will lead to a better understanding of Clostridia dificile infections and their treatment.”fmt

Any patient undergoing clinical FMT treatment can request their complimentary mail-order microbiome testing kit at uBiome will use the collected data to conduct a study of FMT’s impact on the body’s microbiota. All study participants will also receive a detailed report on their personal microbiome.

“Because we will be looking at patients before, during, and after FMT we will be able to learn about how the microbiota adjusts to the treatment,” adds OpenBiome Co-Founder and President Dr. Mark Smith. “This has the potential to not only shed light on C. diff, but also open the door to using FMT with patients suffering other conditions.”

C. diff infections can occur when there is a severe imbalance of gut microbiota, most often found in patients who have undergone a very strong antibiotic treatment during hospitalization. Because of this imbalance, the bacterium thrives and causes extreme gastrointestinal distress.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most effective treatment for these infections is FMT, which has been proven to cure over 90% of C. diff cases. Around 500,000 patients in the U.S. suffer from this infection annually, with a morbidity rate of about 4%. Those most susceptible to infection include the elderly, people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and immunocompromised patients. The infection also doubles the likelihood of hospital readmission and increases patient length of stay significantly, adding a heavy burden to hospital systems nationwide.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the efficacy of FMT, the most common treatment for C. diff infections is still antibiotics. Using these lead to a recurrence of infection up to 50% of the time. Other potential treatments of C. diff infections under exploration include a vaccine currently undergoing clinical trials and microbiota restoration therapy, which involves  clinically grown microbiota delivered via the same method as FMT.

This study will serve to increase awareness and understanding of how FMT affects the human microbiome, which could increase its acceptance in the medical community as a way to treat a potential variety of gastrointestinal conditions.

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