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Microbiome – a life changing pilot program

We are thrilled to share news of an upcoming pilot program that will provide life-changing faecal microbiota for transplant.

It’s something that you may not have heard of. In fact, it’s a donation that most people flush away. That’s right — we’re talking about poo.

What is faecal microbiota for transplant (FMT)?

We collect a poo from a healthy donor, process and test it, then give it to clinicians to transplant into a patient.

Why do patients need this?

Your digestive system, or gut, has millions of tiny living organisms and bacteria living in it. These are known as gut flora or gut microbiota. The types and numbers of organisms you have in your gut affects your health — whether for good or bad.

The goal of FMT is to transfer good, healthy microbiota from a donor into someone whose current gut microbiota may be making them sick.

What is the Microbiome pilot?

During our Western Australian pilot program that began earlier this year, we will provide Fiona Stanley Hospital with a reliable supply of FMT to treat patients suffering from life-threatening recurrent difficile infection.

We’re excited about this new opportunity to help more Australian patients and we’re really looking forward to the results of the pilot.

What is recurrent C. difficile and why treat it with FMT?

Recurrent C. difficile is a serious, life-changing bacterial infection within the gut. It happens in some patients who’ve had treatment with antibiotics, and it’s pervasive, debilitating — and can even be fatal.

Life with recurrent C. difficile infection is devastating. People with it often can’t work or do any physical activity, so they can’t live normal lives.

Treating it with antibiotics doesn’t work well and it often comes back. However, FMT can successfully treat recurrent C. difficile in 70–90% of people.

In 2016 around 2,500 people across Australia could have benefited from FMT. Numbers like these are why we believe it’s worth trialling a way to get more of this effective treatment safely to patients.