McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Freezing poop doesn't impact effectiveness: Study

Published: January 13, 2016
Christine Lee
Dr. Christine Lee, lead author of the study and professor, Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Material for fecal transplants that has been frozen is as effective as fresh material for curing people with reoccurring Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infection, a new study has found.

Led by scientists of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, the study found up to 85% of people with a recurrent case of C. difficile were cured after such a treatment by enema, and there was little difference if the fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) was fresh or had been frozen and thawed.

"This is important as there are many potential advantages of providing frozen FMT," said Dr. Christine Lee, lead author of the study and a professor of pathology and molecular medicine at the medical school. "There would be less cost for donor screening and it could be made more conveniently available, even for centres that do not have on-site labs."

The study was published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) this week. The randomized clinical trial involved 232 patients at six Canadian academic medical centres.

Next, Lee will be testing freeze-dried FMT which, if as effective as fresh or frozen FMT, would further expand the availability and convenience of the treatment.

The funders for the study included the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the National Science Foundation, Physicians Services Incorporated, as well as Kingston General Hospital, a partner in the research.

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