Little-Known Fecal Transplant Saves Woman’s Life

After surviving a near-fatal car accident, Kaitlin Hunter found herself battling a devastating bacterial infection in her colon that also threatened her life. The persistent infection was beaten through a little-known technique involving the transplant of fecal matter from Hunter’s mother, which put healthy bacteria back into her colon.

A June 2011 car accident fractured her lower spine, lacerated her liver and colon, and broke all 10 toes. Emergency crews used the Jaws of Life to cut Hunter from her dad’s car, and then she was flown to the hospital, where she spent the next month. Upon her release, Hunter flew home to Georgia. It hadn’t been the summer vacation she imagined, but she thought she was getting better. But “right when I got off the plane, I went to the hospital. I was having extremely bad stomach pain. A month later, we found out it was C. diff,” Hunter said, using the abbreviation for the bacteria clostridium difficile.


In the hospital after her accident, doctors followed standard care and put Hunter on antibiotics to prevent an infection. In spite of the antibiotics — or possibly because of them — C. diff infected her colon, causing severe stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.

It’s believed that antibiotics, which kill harmful infection-causing bacteria, also weaken the beneficial, healthy bacteria percolating in the colon. With the colon’s defenses down, C. diff grows rampant, releasing a toxin and inflaming the colon.

Instead of continued assaults on bacteria, “fecal matter transplants” recolonize the colon with new bacteria from a healthy donor. Hunter’s mother “donated” one of her stools for the procedure. Next, the hospital lab carefully diluted it, and George pumped the foreign fecal matter right into Hunter’s colon. The result ended Hunter’s struggle with C. diff.

Would you undergo fecal transplant if the same thing happened to you? Feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with us!

Source: CNN

Image: Health College

A Single Drug For All Cancers?

A single drug can shrink or cure human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver, and prostate tumors that have been transplanted into mice, researchers have found. The treatment, an antibody that blocks a “do not eat” signal normally displayed on tumor cells, coaxes the immune system to destroy the cancer cells.

A decade ago, biologist Irving Weissman of the Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California, discovered that leukemia cells produce higher levels of a protein called CD47 than do healthy cells. CD47, he and other scientists found, is also displayed on healthy blood cells; it’s a marker that blocks the immune system from destroying them as they circulate. Cancers take advantage of this flag to trick the immune system into ignoring them.


In the past few years, Weissman’s lab showed that blocking CD47 with an antibody cured some cases of lymphomas and leukemias in mice by stimulating the immune system to recognize the cancer cells as invaders. Now, he and colleagues have shown that the CD47-blocking antibody may have a far wider impact than just blood cancers. “We showed that even after the tumor has taken hold, the antibody can either cure the tumor or slow its growth and prevent metastasis,” says Weissman.

Cancer researcher Tyler Jacks of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge says that although the new study is promising, more research is needed to see whether the results hold true in humans.

Weissman’s team has received a $20 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to move the findings from mouse studies to human safety tests. “We have enough data already,” says Weissman, “that I can say I’m confident that this will move to phase I human trials.”

Source: Digg

Image: Topic Pls