One of London’s leading universities has initiated a clinical trial to investigate the potential benefits of a “poo transplant” for individuals with advanced liver disease.
During the trial, patients will be administered freeze-dried faeces capsules obtained from a healthy donor, which they will consume for a period of 21 months.
King’s College London researchers are conducting the trial with the aim of enhancing the gut health of individuals suffering from cirrhosis, a condition characterized by permanent liver scarring and damage.
The scientists leading The Promise trial state that chronic liver disease (CLD) is the sole major chronic disease experiencing an upward trend in the UK.
Furthermore, they have estimated that chronic liver disease (CLD) ranks as the third leading cause of premature death among individuals under the age of 40.
Individuals affected by the condition are at a heightened risk of infections, which can pose challenges for treatment with antibiotics.
The researchers hypothesize that replacing the “unfavorable” bacteria present in damaged livers with bacteria obtained from a healthy donor could potentially be beneficial.
During the clinical trial, participants will be required to consume five capsules of dried fecal matter over a three-month duration.
Patients will continue this treatment for a period of 21 months, or until they experience their first infection that necessitates hospitalization.
The trial aims to investigate whether the adverse effects of liver cirrhosis can be diminished and determine the potential benefits for liver and immune system health.
Dr. Lindsey Edwards, the lead researcher of the trial, emphasized that infections posed a significant threat to individuals with liver conditions, acting as a “death sentence” for them. Moreover, liver patients were deemed to be at a “high risk” of developing resistance to treatment drugs.
Funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research UK (NIHR), the trial will enroll approximately 300 participants.
A prior study conducted by the same research unit demonstrated the safety and feasibility of using fecal capsules as a treatment method.
According to Prof Debbie Shawcross, the chief investigator of the trial, the capsules, despite their name, have no taste or smell. She further noted that they could potentially provide a ray of hope for patients with cirrhosis who have exhausted all available treatment options.
The British Liver Trust, offering its support to the trial, believes that its impact can extend far beyond liver treatment. Pamela Healy, the head of the trust, expressed that finding innovative and effective approaches to address antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a critical global medical challenge.
She added that the trial has the potential to offer a solution that could save healthcare systems worldwide millions of pounds.
Source : bbc.com