Faecal microbiota transplant is an existing new treatment which involves giving a faecal (stool/poo) preparation from a healthy donor to patients with specific gut conditions. This treatment is presumed to work by replacing unhealthy bacteria in the recipient by healthy bacteria from the donor although other mechanisms may also be at play. So far this treatment has been to shown to be effective for a specific infection by clostridium difficile bacteria which occurs after the use of certain antibiotics. Patients who have a infection that is resistant to standard treatment with antibiotics can now receive the faecal microbiota transplant in the NHS. Research studies are being performed in inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis as well as in irritable bowel syndrome and early results are promising. The treatment has the potential for use in other diseases that affect the immune system too but more research is required.
It has been seen that the faeces of some donors are more effective than others and these are termed super donors. We do not yet know why this is the case but it may be because these donors have very healthy gut bacteria. Further research will clarify this.