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Disease Therapy: Restoration of the Gut’s Microbial Diversity

Fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), has gained increased prominence with human excrement becoming a precious commodity. Research suggests that microbes in the gut may play a role in allergies, autoimmune disorders, diabetes and obesity. The purpose of transplanting feces is to replace good bacteria that has been suppressed or killed, usually by antibiotics, which can cause bad bacteria to overgrow. Healthy donor stool is administrated via multiple routes including colonoscopy or capsules. Fecal transplant has shown promising results with many gastrointestinal diseases including Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome and neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. However, the regulatory guidelines are still not clear and the data remains limited on the side effects of FMT.

Clostridium difficile can cause a very serious infection that leads to debilitating and sometimes fatal diarrhea. It is a frequent cause of healthcare-associated illness and is normally transferred via touch. Handwashing is an effective means to reduce contamination. Risk factors for acquiring infection include overexposure to antibiotics and advanced age. Patients with a recurrent C. difficile infection have a 60% risk of relapse as conventional therapies do not address the underlying microbial imbalance. Researchers have recently reported the use of FMT to treat C. difficile infection with a 96% success rate. More research will have to be undertaken in the future to gain a better understanding of the link between bacteria and the immune system. FMT is a more cost effective treatment than continued use of antibiotics and reduces the risk of antibiotic resistance. Further research is needed into the use of FMT in the fight against obesity, diabetes, autoimmune and neurological disorders. This highlights the importance of optimizing your gut flora via diet for maintaining a healthy balance and protection from disease.

Read more: http://jid.oxfordjournals.org/lens/jinfdis/214/2/173
Enzo Life Sciences provides a wide variety of products for your immunology research needs. Our product portfolio provides a toolset for diagnostic and vaccine development including native bacterial and viral antigens and ELISA kits. See here for further information on our Immunology Research platform.

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