Two researchers from the United Kingdom are looking at saving about 15,000 people from a hazardous superbug known as Clostridium difficile (C.diff) through a "poo bank."

James McIlroy and Matthew Bracchi, fourth year medical students at the University of Aberdeen, devised a fecal donation program called Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT). Through this scheme, the fecal matter of healthy donors would be implanted into the infected bowel of patients.

The procedure may be performed either via colonoscopy or nasogastric, duodenal or rectal enema. The aim of the treatment is to bring back the balance of bacteria in the gut. Before the transplantation is carried out, donors must first undergo a comprehensive medical history interview, physical examination and infectious disease screening.

The researchers took inspiration from the existing blood bank setup, wherein healthy people can donate blood to those who need it. In this new endeavor, however, people will be donating healthy fecal matter, instead of blood. Ultimately, the researchers want to provide adequately screened healthy fecal microbiota that are ready for transplant.

Based on a recent trial, FMT was proven to have cured about 81 percent of cases, which is significantly higher compared to the 31 percent cure rate yielded from conventional treatment.

"We appreciate it's not the most pleasant of topics but C. diff is a serious problem for sufferers and the NHS," said Mcllroy. They believe that their concept is a serious possible solution, with the promising results of recent FMT trials proving that it is indeed an effective treatment option.

Despite the notable success rate, the researchers admitted that the procedure is costly and may be inaccessible for majority of healthcare professionals. They added that it may be hard to introduce the method in the NHS due to the costs and logistics involved in the unique donor screening process.

With this, Mcllroy and Bracchi have started a social undertaking calle EuroBiotix CIC to help boost the availability of FMT via the NHS.

According to the researchers, their newly formulated treatment method would help save time and effort in looking for possible donors; prevent contamination hazards; and enhance the overall safety and quality of the specimens through their standardized protocols.

C. diff is a gut infection that is said to be highly unresponsive to antibiotic therapies. About one in four cases suffer from a relapse, causing prolonged hospital admissions. The infection may cause people to suffer from diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain.

Mcllroy first came up with the concept of FMT while working on his dissertation for his Bachelor of Medical Science degree in Edinburgh in 2014. He was then researching about the role of gut bacteria in the development of obesity when he read about a major C. diff outbreak and found out about fecal implantations.

"We are very proud of James and Matthew's commitment, professional approach and achievements and have been delighted to have been able to support them in their endeavors," said Rona Patey, professor and head of the Division of Medical and Dental Education at the University of Aberdeen. She added that these students provide excellent examples of the innovation and contribution that is now being made by future doctors.

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