by Bernadette M. Mandes Wildemore
Just as many new families are being given the option to ‘bank’ their new baby’s cord blood for potential later use, so too are patients now able to bank their own stool sample prior to the possible later development of Clostridium difficile infection.
The Chief Medical Officer at the Massachusetts-based company, OpenBiome, states, “At present, the risks of donor-based transplants are not fully known, so the Personal Biome model may be a way of managing the risk of the unknown by having patients use their own stool.” Indeed, many GI experts are optimistic regarding fecal transplant, as a possible cure for many of the ills that plague the GI tracts of affected patients. However, there may be a significant risk in using ‘foreign’ stool for such a transplant. The use of one’s own, previously healthy stool, is believed to negate the possibility of developing disease secondary to an unknown donor. Fecal transplant, such as the one offered by OpenBiome, may be useful in patients who have a history of developing the infection, C. difficile, following the necessary use of antibiotics for surgery.