Queen Alexandra Hospital in the UK has opened a new frozen faecal bank, a move that could help in finding a cure for infections caused by Clostridium difficile (C. diff).
Screened frozen faeces from a healthy donor can be stored at the bank for three months before it is transported anywhere in the UK.
The transplantation of faeces from a pre-screened volunteer will deliver healthy bacteria into the gut of a patient, thus helping the patient recover from serious infections.
A single faecal transplant from the bank could cost more than £85. This kind of transplantation is expected to cure 96% of patients.
Portsmouth Hospitals’ NHS Trust microbiology and infection consultant Dr Robert Porter said: "The development of the bank will revolutionise our ability to provide highly efficient therapy in Hampshire and across the whole of the UK in a way we were unable to do previously.
"Faecal transplants are extremely successful and the impact on people’s lives of such a simple treatment is difficult to overstate.
"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."
The bank is backed by funding from the Wessex Academic Health Science Network and supported by the University of Portsmouth’ senior lecturer and researcher Carole Fogg.
C. diff releases toxins that may cause bloating and diarrhea, with abdominal pain, which may become severe.
Currently, infections caused by C. diff are treated using antibiotics. However, more than 20% of the patients cannot be cured by antibiotics.
Image: Clostridium difficile releases toxins that may cause bloating and diarrhea. Photo: courtesy of UoP News.