Healthy Living

When it Comes to Crohn's, a Fecal Transplant Can Save Lives

After seeing success with C. diff, this transplant proved to be extremely successful with Crohn's too

Dr. Suskind and Dr. Ghassan Wahbeh, director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center at Seattle Children’s Hospital, were providing treatment to a patient with C.diff when they stumbled upon the potential of a fecal transplant. They found that not only did it improve the patient’s infection, but it also improved her symptoms and inflammatory markers. “Fecal transplant has been used to treat C. diff in patients from 2 to 90 years old with no overt side effects,” said Dr. Suskind. “While there’s a hypothetical risk of transferring an infection, our screening procedures significantly reduce that risk,” he added.

In order to test out the effectiveness of FMT, Dr. Suskind developed a study that included patients with Crohn’s disease, as well as patients with ulcerative colitis – all of whom were experiencing worsening of their symptoms. Each patient received a fecal transplant (with stool donated by their parent). While the symptoms of the patients with ulcerative colitis did not improve vastly, the majority of those with Crohn’s disease did. In fact, after more than six months of treatment, some patients continued to experience no symptoms of the disease. “At this stage, it does not appear to be a cure-all, but these results are promising. This is just the beginning. As time goes on, as we learn more and adjust protocols to determine what works for patients, this will bring significant improvements,” said Dr. Suskind.