Therapeutic Poop Goes Synthetic

The synthetic feces is less icky than the natural variety and is a “super probiotic,” aptly named RePOOPulate

Photo: LE Nelge

There’s a new scoop on therapeutic poop: a newly developed synthetic human stool can help treat Clostridium difficile gastrointestinal infections, a toxin-producing bacterium that often sends its victims to the hospital and proves challenging to get rid of.

Researchers say the synthetic feces is a “super probiotic” and they’ve aptly named it RePOOPulate. Until now, human-produced fecal matter—often donated by a family member or close friend of the patient—has been used in stool transplants to treat C. difficile. (Si, difficil to get out of your colon.) The synthetic version, which the researches made from growing intestinal bacterial cultures, eliminates the need for stool donations. Researcher say the artificial poop is more stable, safer and less repulsive for patients to deal with.

Two patients with chronic C. difficile infections received the RePOOPulate treatment. After the therapy, both patients’ symptoms disappeared within three days and they tested negative for the harmful bacteria six months later. Traces of the microbes from the synthetic stool showed that those good bugs had become long term residents in the patients’ colons.

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