17 June 2019

Flushed with pride

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    We're part of a collaboration that's improving people's health through faecal microbiota transplants.

    Poo Transplants

    It’s true. Faecal microbiota transplants can improve your health and your mood.

    They can be especially beneficial if you’ve got a condition such as Crohn's disease, irritable bowel syndrome or Clostridium difficile infection. There’s even growing evidence that such transplants can have a positive impact on obesity and emotional wellbeing.

    In collaboration with clinicians at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, microbiologists at The Quadram Institute have been looking at novel therapies to tackle antimicrobial resistance. They’ve developed and implemented a successful new treatment for recurring Clostridium difficile infections that transfers microbiota from healthy donors into patients who haven’t responded well to antibiotics.

    During the first year more than 20 patients were treated resulting in a success rate of over 95%. Research leader Professor Arjan Narbad worked with Dr Ngozi Elumogo, Senior Research Fellow in Translational Medicine to obtain, screen and deliver healthy material suitable for faecal microbiota transplant (FMT). This process is believed to me more effective than antibiotics, as it replaces a patient’s microbiome with a healthier one, delivering health benefits almost immediately.

    Microbiology consultants, scientists and clinical gastroenterologists at The Quadram Institute are working side-by-side to improve current techniques and better understand the hundreds of bacterial species that live in the gut and provide different health benefits. They are also studying other forms of bacteriotherapy, such as probiotics, phage therapy and engineered and synthetic microbes that could alleviate a number of conditions associated with the gut microbiome.

    The Quadram Institute is a collaboration between UEA, Quadram Institute Bioscience, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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    UEA perspectives

    “Clostridium difficile causes tens of thousands of infections in the UK when healthy microbiomes are damaged. Now we’ve a better understanding of microbiomes, we’re trying to exploit the microbiome as medicine and replace damaged microbiomes with healthier ones. Faecal microbiota transplants are very effective treatments. Their success rate at combating recurrent Clostridium difficile is 95% compared to antibiotics that work just 30% of the time.” – Dr Ngozi Elumogo