Epidemiology and Infection

Review Article

Challenges and opportunities for faecal microbiota transplantation therapy

G. B. ROGERSa1 c1 and K. D. BRUCEa1

a1 Molecular Microbiology Research Laboratory, Institute of Pharmaceutical Science, King's College London, London, UK

SUMMARY

The incidence, morbidity, and mortality associated with Clostridium difficile gastrointestinal infections has increased greatly over recent years, reaching epidemic proportions; a trend due, in part, to the emergence of hypervirulent and antibiotic-resistant strains. The need to identify alternative, non-antibiotic, treatment strategies is therefore urgent. The ability of bacteria in faecal matter transplanted from healthy individuals to displace pathogen populations is well recognized. Further, there is growing evidence that such faecal microbiota transplantation can be of benefit in a wide range of conditions associated with gut dysbiosis. Recent technical advances have greatly increased our ability to understand the processes that underpin the beneficial changes in bacterial community composition, as well as to characterize their extent and duration. However, while much of the research into faecal microbiota transplantation focuses currently on achieving clinical efficacy, the potential for such therapies to contribute to the transmission of infective agents also requires careful consideration.

(Received April 12 2013)

(Revised May 02 2013)

(Accepted May 07 2013)

(Online publication June 05 2013)

Key words

  • Clostridium difficile ;
  • diarrhoea;
  • gastrointestinal infections;
  • microbiology

Correspondence

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr G. B. Rogers, King's College London, Pharmaceutical Science Division, Franklin–Wilkins Building, 150 Stamford Street, London SE1 9NH, UK. (Email: geraint.b.rogers@gmail.com)

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