Clostridium difficile has become a scourge in hospitals and is beginning to be viewed as a Medicare "no pay" condition. This infection is fundamentally the result of a disruption of the microbiome making the human colon hospitable to C.diff. When antibiotic treatment, which further disrupts the microbiome, is insufficient, few options exist.
The option with the most promise--which is almost per se unpalatable--is a fecal transplant. This involves reconstituting the microbiome of the patient and crowding out C.diff. When used, often as a last resort, it works. The stool can be administered via a nasal feeding tube or via colonoscopy.
A story in The New York Times is focused on a stool bank (Openbiome) that offers donor stool for use in these infections. The advantage of a stool bank is that it provides a source of donor stool that has been screened for the presence of pathogens and is safe to instill. This innovative thinking by Openbiome is admirable.
My favorite quote from the article: "a technician blended the donor’s stool into preparations that looked like chocolate milk."