Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog – an eclectic collection of research- and research education-related stories: feature stories, mini news bites, learning opportunities, profiles and more from Mayo Clinic.

September 29, 2020

Study moves microbiome-based therapies closer to the mainstream treatment for C. difficile infection

By Advancing the Science contributor
Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S.

A new study published online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases looked at the use of a non-frozen capsule of microbiome restoration therapy for treating patients with recurrent C. difficile infection.

“Patients with C. difficile are typically managed with antibiotics or fecal transplantation for recurrent C. difficile,” says the study’s author, Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Khanna says fecal transplantation has been demonstrated to have high success rates by restoring the gut microbiome of patients.  However, he says there are several challenges with fecal transplantation including standardization of the product, keeping it frozen and mitigating the risk of infectious disease transmission during the procedure. 

To help reduce the risks, Dr. Khanna and his team studied a transplantation method using a non-frozen capsule instead of whole stool transplantation. An initial dose finding, investigator-initiated study looked at the efficacy of different doses of fecal matter and the safety of performing microbiome restoration therapy using an oral product, RBX7455 developed by Rebiotix, Inc. The team found no concerns related to safety.

“Our study has several implications,” says Dr. Khanna. “We think that products like capsules may be able to replace fecal transplantation that is currently done via a colonoscopy. We also think that products that are non-frozen may allow for repeat dosing and for patient-administered self-treatment at home. The good news is that we are  moving closer to having safe and effective products to restore the gut microbiome for patients with recurrent C. difficile.”

Dr. Khanna says that larger clinical trials and blinded, placebo-controlled trials are the next step in moving this potential treatment from research into practice.

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Tags: C. diff, clinical trials, fecal transplant, Findings, gastroenterology, microbiome, News, Progress Updates, Sahil Khanna

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