Could Faecal Transplants Treat Asthma?



Faecal microbiota transplants (FMT) have been put forward as a more effective means of treating Asthma over current treatments by a team of scientists in China.  Dr Yongbo Kang and Dr. Yue Kai of Kummings University of Science and Technology in China highlighted how the treatment provides a natural and low cost means of treating chronic inflammation long associated with Asthma with greater effectiveness than existing methods including probiotics

Asthma, a condition  linked with an imbalance within the gut microbiota, currently effects 1 in 10 people in western populations and has been projected to affect 100 million people by 2025.  Various studies have previously found that the lack of some types of bacteria in babies’ guts affected their later chances of asthma – and that the asthma associated inflammation can be treated through culturing important strains of bacteria as probiotics

However as oral probiotic doses are typically three orders of magnitude lower than 100 trillion+ microbes that exist in our bowels, a faecal infusion could provide a much larger dose of the beneficial bacteria over oral probiotics. Further to this, a transplant of faecal flora is found to establish a more durable ecosystem within the recipients’s gut microbiota, while oral probiotics will typically colonize the gut for only a temporary period”.

The team also suggest the treatment is not limited in effectiveness to Asthma, but it could also play an important role in tackling issues of inflammatory immune response as a result of diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases(IBD), autoimmune diseases and effectively deal with other bacterial infections.

Many factors have been considered to be responsible for the causes of Asthma, including environment, lifestyle and bacteria exposure in early childhood, when gut microbiota is in the initial stage of development.

After their experiments, the team claims that, “Careful RNA gene sequencing showed that the patients’s stool was strikingly similar to the donor stool after transplant suggesting,that the donor’s stool had helped restore a healthy colonic microbiome. With a popular view amongst researchers sees our microbial flora as a bodily organ allows for FMT to be viewed in a similar way to a true organ transplantation.”

While there is much excitement the available data on the field of FMT is limited but recent advances are enabling identification of microbes and the molecular products and enzymes they produce.



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