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Fecal transplant industry needs a lot of ‘quality’ poop. Where does it come from?

| | August 22, 2019
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Image: Erik Jacobs/OpenBiome
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

To reset the microbiome, the best medicine comes from the last place you’d expect: a fecal transplant, in which a healthy person’s stool is transferred to the patient’s gut. 

To recruit participants, OpenBiome, a nonprofit stool bank that supplies most of the material for transplants across the country, has crafted a slogan to stir altruistic zeal in potential donors: “Make Your Morning Routine Heroic.” They’ve found there’s no shortage of willing help, which makes sense considering how easy it is to help restore a fellow human’s health while earning $40 per donation. To think that all these years we’ve been flushing a miracle drug down the toilet.

The problem is not quantity, but quality. Donors at OpenBiome and other companies must pass intensive screenings — for allergies, medical and travel history, infectious diseases and much more — to guarantee the purity of their stool. 

In the end, just 2 or 3 percent of potential donors are granted the privilege of passing along their poop.

As the industry scales up, and as more studies link a healthy gut to a healthy body, they hope to use machine learning and computational strategies to pin down “smoking gun” bacteria most effective at treating specific ailments.

Read full, original post: Where Does the Fecal Transplant Industry Get its Poop?

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