From the 30 August 2013 Science Podcast
Jop de Vrieze break down the feasibility and effectiveness of fecal transplants to fight off diseases.
The Promise of Poop
A controlled clinical trial published in January 2013 has shown that fecal transplants can help cure recurrent infections with Clostridium difficile. Researchers think patients with other diseases, too, may benefit from the procedure, but much more study is needed. Meanwhile, scientists are trying to understand the underlying mechanisms and hoping that, in the future, they will be able to transplant selected bacterial strains instead of human stool.
Regulators Grapple With an Unorthodox Therapy
The rapid rise of fecal transplantation, coupled with pressure from enthusiastic patients and doctors, has regulators wondering how to respond. While European and Australian regulators have not yet stepped in, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asserted its authority over the procedure in May—although it partially backtracked in July.