A pilot trial in WA will see blood donors asked if they can also become a reliable supply of donated stools for faecal microbiota transplants.
The Australian Red Cross Blood Service in Perth is hoping to recruit 50 blood donors to provide stools transplants for the Fiona Stanley Hospital to treat patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infections.,
The donations will be processed and tested in a dedicated facility at the Blood Service’s Perth Processing Centre, before being supplied to Fiona Stanley Hospital for faecal microbiota transplantation into patients.
Dr Oliver Waters, consultant gastroenterologist at Fiona Stanley Hospital, said there are about 2500 patients nationally with recurrent Clostridium difficile who could benefit from FMT to manage a condition that is difficult to treat and can be fatal.
“Faecal microbiota transplant has a 90% success rate for treating recurrent Clostridium difficile, but we have struggled with a reliable supply of suitable transplant material in the past,” she said.
“There is currently a surge of interest in the gut microbiome and its role in health and disease and establishing a reliable supply of transplant material in WA will undoubtedly stimulate more research in this area, with the potential to develop new treatments for many different conditions including ulcerative colitis.”
WA Regional Director of the Blood Service, Brett King, said the ARCBS can play a crucial role because it is a trusted organisation that has been safely collecting, testing and distributing life-saving products to the community for many years.
“The Perth Processing Centre is well-positioned to make high-quality faecal microbiota accessible to clinicians at Fiona Stanley Hospital to help overcome this health challenge,” he said.