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Queen Alexandra Hospital Opens Fecal Bank

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 31 May 2016
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Image: Clostridium difficile in a Petri dish (Photo courtesy of the University of Portsmouth).
Image: Clostridium difficile in a Petri dish (Photo courtesy of the University of Portsmouth).
Queen Alexandra Hospital (Portsmouth, United Kingdom) has opened a new frozen fecal bank, which could help cure for infections caused by Clostridium difficile.

The bank is part of a pilot project run by Robert Porter, MD, a consultant in microbiology and infection at Portsmouth Hospitals' NHS Trust (Portsmouth, United Kingdom). The bank will give patients across the United Kingdom access to screened frozen fecal material from a healthy donor in order to deliver healthy bacteria into the gut of a patient suffering from severe C. difficile infection.

The frozen samples, collected from pre-screened volunteers, can be stored for up to three months, and can be transported anywhere in the United Kingdom within hours, using overnight cold storage delivery; a single fecal transplant from the bank will cost about £85. The bank is funded by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network (Southhampton, United Kingdom), and supported by senior lecturer and researcher Carole Fogg, PhD, of the University of Portsmouth (Portsmouth, United Kingdom).

“Fecal transplants are extremely successful, and the impact on people's lives of such a simple treatment is difficult to overstate,” said Dr. Porter. “This is about something we all do every day potentially saving other people's lives. The pilot bank service also opens doors to new research, which we fully intend to take forward.”

Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that causes infection leading to diarrhea, and is most often related to antibiotic use during medical treatment. It is especially dangerous for patients with weakened immune systems such as the elderly and those with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Treatment includes antibiotics, probiotics, toxin-binding medications, active vaccination, and intravenous immunoglobon. About 20% of patients are resistant to these treatment and need a fecal microbiota transplant, which has a 96% cure rate.

Related Links:
Queen Alexandra Hospital
Portsmouth Hospitals' NHS Trust
Wessex Academic Health Science Network
University of Portsmouth

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