NEW ORLEANS (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Fecal microbiota transplantation, or FMT, is a highly effective treatment for Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and other digestive and autoimmune disorders, but little is known about the role of donor characteristics with respect to outcomes in patients with recurrent CDI.

A study of nearly 1,999 patients with an 83.9% cure rate showed no significant difference between 28 donors in terms of clinical outcomes at 8 weeks, according to Majdi Osman, MD , of OpenBiome , a not-for-profit stool bank in the Boston area.

Studies in inflammatory bowel diseases have suggested that donors do matter, but that does not appear to be the case when it comes to recurrent CDI, Dr. Osman said at an annual scientific meeting on infectious diseases.

“Broadly speaking, it seems like the efficacy rate is the same amongst all of our donors,” he said in a video interview at the combined annual meetings of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the HIV Medicine Association, and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society.

Potential donors are subject to a rigorous screening process, and less than 3% are accepted, but given that donors were shown in previous studies to play a role in effectiveness in some other conditions, Dr. Osman said it was worth checking to see if outcomes in CDI could be further improved through donor selection.

In fact, it appears that “the donor doesn’t matter,” he said, noting that it may be that “we are selecting for a fairly narrow spectrum of the population, and actually the stool that we’re selecting is fairly similar in composition.”

Efforts are underway to look more closely at that possibility, and Dr. Osman said he hopes to see more standardized clinical trials and clinical follow-up. He also said he is excited about an FMT registry – a joint project of the American Gastroenterology Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America – that will follow 4,000 patients for 10 years.

“We will be working closely with them to provide material and get some really good robust clinical data going forward,” he said.

Dr. Osman reported having no disclosures.


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