Researchers at The University of Adelaide have taken recycling to a whole new level, using faecal transplants to treat chronic disease.
Their study shows stool samples from healthy donors can reduce the symptoms of a painful bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, proving we all have something to contribute.
A growing body of evidence links thriving gut bacteria to a range of positive health outcomes, including bowel function.
The University of Adelaide research confirms some of this can be shared via a process referred to as “faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT)”.
The treatment is just as effective as drug-based therapies, without any of the nasty side effects.
It does have its downsides, however: transplants are inserted via a less-than-comfortable process involving colonoscopy and enema.
Lead researcher Sam Costello says the next goal of research is to replace this with a simple pill.
“Our long-term aim is to develop rationally designed microbial therapies that can replace FMT,’’ Dr Costello says.
“These will have bacteria in a pill that can carry out the therapeutic effect without the need to take whole faeces.
“This is obviously a better and less smelly option.”
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