Fecal Microbiota Transplant Induces Steroid-free Remission in Ulcerative Colitis Patients, Study Reports

Fecal Microbiota Transplant Induces Steroid-free Remission in Ulcerative Colitis Patients, Study Reports

A clinical study found that multi-donor fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) successfully induced clinical and endoscopic remission in patients with resistant active ulcerative colitis (UC). Results from the placebo-controlled trial were presented at the recent 11th Congress of the European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO), held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The physiological balance of bacteria communities in the gut is essential to overall health and well-being, as the so-called “good” bacteria perform important physiological functions, such as the breakdown of food and nutrients, development of the immune system, and protection against disease-causing pathogenic bacteria. Microbiota imbalance has been shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of UC.

FMT, a procedure in which fecal matter collected from a tested healthy donor is mixed with a saline or other solution and given to a patient, often by colonoscopy or enema, aims to replace the good bacteria that has been, through a variety of factors, killed or suppressed. Some studies have reported favorable effects of FMT in UC patients.

Researchers studied 81 patients with active UC resistant to standard therapies, conducted at three centers in Australia. Patients were randomly assigned to FMT treatment or placebo colonoscopic infusion on day one, followed by FMT or placebo enemas five days per week for eight weeks. Samples for the FMTs were obtained from three to seven unrelated donors.

The study’s primary endpoint was a combined steroid-free clinical and endoscopic remission at week eight. Secondary endpoints included clinical response, steroid-free clinical remission, endoscopic response, endoscopic remission, quality of life, and safety.

Results showed that in the FMT group, 11 out of the 41 patients (27 percent) achieved the study’s primary endpoint, reached in only three out of 40 patients in the placebo group (8 percent). Also, more FMT patients achieved steroid-free clinical remission than placebo patients, 44 percent versus 20 percent, respectively. Clinical response was observed in 54 percent of the FMT patients, and in 23 percent of those in the placebo group. Steroid-free endoscopic remission rates were 17 percent versus 8 percent, and endoscopic response rates were 37 percent versus 10 percent in the FMT and placebo groups, respectively.

In terms of safety, adverse events were comparable between the two groups. Three serious adverse events, worsening of UC, occurred in two FMT patients and one placebo patient.

“This largest controlled trial of FMT has demonstrated that intense multi-donor colonoscopic enema FMT is effective in inducing strictly defined clinical and endoscopic remission in patients with resistant active ulcerative colitis,” the research team concluded, according to a news release.

6 comments

  1. This is great news! I have personally experienced this too. In July 2011 I was able to achieve remission after 12 years of Ulcerative Colitis that brought me to within days of scheduled surgery. Nearly 5 years later I am still symptom-free, I consider myself to be cured!

    I discovered that FMTs had been used for treating Ulcerative Colitis from an article by Dr. Borody in the Journal of Gastoenterology that documented cases where FMTs led to sustained remission of UC. So after consulting with a few doctors I performed fecal transplants at home using enemas from a single donor. About 6 weeks after the first FMT I had a total remission of symptoms, I then stopped taking other medications a few months later.
    Since my recovery I have been in touch with many other patients who contacted me through my website that have also been able to use FMT to bring their cases of Ulcerative Colitis into remission. If anyone would like to know more about my experience, I go into more detail on my website.

    • Jake Morrison says:

      How did you get this treatment, I live in the USA and I am desperately trying to have this done as I have responded poorly to strong drugs.

  2. Glenn Taylor says:

    Michael, I am delighted for you. Can I however point out the risks to a non-clinical “home” treatment. Donors are not as reliable as they appear from the outside, they can appear to be completely asymptomatic of disease and indeed, on testing they may also show negative. There are diseases however, that can infect a donor but cannot be detected by test until a certain point in the development of their infection. This could mean that the donor’s stool sample could have been placed in the patient’s gut before the donor finally indicates illness and is tested positive for Hepatitis or HIV for example. NEVER assume your donor is safe until a proper series of tests have been thoroughly completed. This is so frequently overlooked.

  3. Jack says:

    I have had UC since I was 5 years old, I then had my large bowel removed at 11 years old and had a colostomy bag for 5 years.. I then had the reversal at 16 (J-pouch surgery) and have been fine since then until this year.(I’m 22)
    I have been in and out of hospital this year, and the consultant I see has said that I have some ulcers in the small part of the colon that they left to reattach the small bowel during a reversal.
    It kind of feels that I have been re-diagnosed with UC even though you always have it, and it’s been suggested that I have the whole process done again from scratch or just get a colostomy bag permanently. ( I am waiting to see about some medication before I commit to surgery)
    My question is- Can FMT be used on someone in my position with the J pouch?
    I only discovered this page was because I asked the consultant why there is no bowel transplants and I was told they don’t exist. I also was told that my original surgery to get the colostomy bag was a bit ‘dodgey’ and that so much of the colon should not have been left there..l and that’s where it has come back.
    Sorry for the essay!

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