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A New Kind of Transplant Bank

February 23, 2014

Well, I was going to write up the latest amazing news on memory molecules, but it will have to wait. A remarkable piece of true news (no, it’s not April 1st yet) has somehow managed to escape major notice. To quote from NYT:

“Around noon on a recent Friday, Donor Five, a healthy 31-year-old, walked across M.I.T.’s frigid, wind-swept campus to a third-floor restroom to make a contribution to public health. Less than two hours later, a technician blended the donor’s stool into preparations that looked like chocolate milk. The material was separated and stored in freezers at an M.I.T. microbiology lab, awaiting shipment to hospitals around the country. Each container was carefully labeled: Fecal Microbiota Preparation.

“Nearly a year ago, Mark Smith, a 27-year-old doctoral candidate, and three colleagues launched OpenBiome, the nation’s first human stool bank. Its mission: to provide doctors with safe, inexpensive fecal material from screened donors to treat patients with Clostridium difficile, a gastrointestinal infection that kills at least 14,000 Americans a year. ‘People are dying, and it’s crazy because we know what the solution is’ Mr. Smith said ….” Continued here.

  1. samldiener permalink
    February 24, 2014 8:37 am

    A promising alternative with less of a psychological “yuck” factor, (and what a great headline) “Repoopulating the gut”

    • February 24, 2014 8:44 am

      Yes, you’re right; standardizing a mixed culture would be the next step. It will be interesting to see the clinical trials.

  2. samldiener permalink
    February 24, 2014 8:37 am

    Hello Joan,

    I’d love to hear your take on this: Long live free radicals! (We were framed) The Myth of Antioxidants Scientific American, 2013-02, Melinda Wenner Moyer

    In Peace, Sam Diener

    “Every relationship of domination, of exploitation, of oppression is by definition violent, whether or not the violence is expressed by drastic means. In such a relationship, dominator and dominated alike are reduced to things – the former dehumanized by an excess of power, the latter by a lack of it. And things cannot love.”

  3. SFreader permalink
    February 24, 2014 1:20 pm

    There’s also this article on fecal transplantation from a Nature promo I received today:

    A MUST READ from Nature Reviews: Key Advances in Medicine – “Developing human gut microbiota as a class of therapeutics.” (pgs 37-38)

    MAB (monoclonal antibodies) are also being pursued for some gut immune diseases but remain prohibitively expensive. Maybe fecal transplants – competitive pressure – can bring down their cost.

    BTW – the above Nature Review is a free download.

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