Fecal Matter Transplant (FMT)

What is Fecal Matter Transplant?

Fecal matter transplantation (also known as ‘stool transplant’ and ‘fecal microbiota therapy’), is an experimental procedure of inserting stool from a healthy donor into a recipient to restore the normal microbiome (microorganisms that live in our body) in a recipient’s large bowel.

Watch the 2-minute video below to learn from an expert about what FMT is:


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What is the microbiome?

The microbiome is collection of organisms that live inside your gut and help drive certain physiological processes like digestion. They help control the immune process of the gut.

The microbiome produces vitamins, breaks down food to extract nutrients, maintains your immune system, and is your first-line defense against pathogens; everyone has a unique microbiome. The microbiome can be altered by disease or treatment such as with antibiotics.


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Can FMT help manage Crohn's or colitis?

We already use fecal matter transplant to treat Clostridium difficile infections. In IBD, some studies have shown fecal matter transplant can induce remission, but overall the data on its use has been conflicting.

The procedure is beginning to show some promise in the treatment of ulcerative colitis in controlled clinical trials, funded by Crohn’s and Colitis Canada. Research is ongoing in this area. There are potential known and unknown risks associated with experimental treatment of this nature.


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Our position on FMT for IBD

Crohn’s and Colitis Canada has issued a position statement on fecal transplantation. It acknowledges this therapy as promising but cautions people with IBD to be patient while waiting for fecal transplant to become a treatment option.

Above all, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada advises patients not to perform fecal matter transplant on themselves or to accept a fecal transplant outside of a research ethics board-approved clinical trial. Studies are underway to better understand the safety and efficacy of fecal matter transplant for treatment of Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.

Click here to read our full position statement on Fecal Transplantation here.


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Additional resources

Video: Fecal Microbiota Transplant for IBD

Watch the video below to learn about the use of Fecal Microbiota Therapy (FMT) as a treatment for Crohn's and colitis. Also get updates on findings from clinical trial studies from the IMAGINE Network supported by Crohn's and Colitis Canada.

Speakers: 

Usha Chauhan (N.P.) is an Adult Nurse Practitioner at Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University Medical Centre in the Digestive Disease clinic, and Assistant clinical professor with the School of Nursing at McMaster University. She is a steering committee member of the Canadian IBD (CANIBD) nurses, and Crohn's and Colitis Canada's Scientific Medical Advisory Council (SMAC). In 2017, Usha was awarded the CANIBD-research grant to investigate patients’ perceptions of Fecal Microbiota Therapy for the treatment of IBD. 
 
Melanie Watson is a Research Associate, certified CCRP at McMaster University Medical Centre, working in the Farncombe Family Digestive Health Research Institute specializing in Fecal Microbial Transplant. She has worked 24 years in the Gastroenterology, completing numerous clinical trials. Melanie was nominated in 2004 and 2005 for McMaster University Presidents Award for Outstanding Service- IDRP (Intestinal Disease Research Program).

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