Microbiome therapy aims to restore healthy gut microbiota to control a variety of local and distant pathologies. This could reduce the risk of recurrence of infections and significantly improve patient quality of life.
The microbiome is the natural bacterial colonisation of the body – including skin, gut and stomach. Scientists believe that this is a complex network of interactions, which can affect metabolism, neurology, infection, gut disease and other chronic health conditions.
Microbiome therapy aims to establish a healthy gut microbiome to restore gut function and prevent dysregulation. Microbiome therapies (MBT) are currently in development to prevent recurrent C. difficile infections, which are primarily contracted in hospitals, leading to diarrhea, dehydration, fever and weight loss.
Microbiome therapies are currently focused on the prevention of C. difficile recurrence. This bacterium is often contracted in hospitals following antibiotic administration or a period of immunosuppression. Treatment with antibiotics or faecal transplants are intensive, invasive and may not lower recurrence rates significantly.
Microbiome therapy aims to prevent recurrence by recolonising the gut with natural gut flora and preventing colonisation by C. difficile. Reducing risk of life threatening C. difficile infection recurrence will lower the risk of death, as well improving long-term quality of life and reducing the need for invasive faecal transplants.
Around 250,000 patients develop C. difficile infections in Europe annually, among which the mortality rate is approximately 20%. Elderly patients are at greatest risk, since the majority of CDI deaths occur in patients aged over 65, while infections recur in about 20% of surviving patients.
At least 20% of patients will develop recurrent CDI, which is more severe and harder to treat. Future microbiome therapies could lower CDI recurrence by up to 85%, protecting patients, especially the elderly, from higher mortality rates. Patients treated with MBT are less likely to develop re-infection and associated symptoms including diarrhea and fatigue. Reduction in recurrence will also reduce the number of complications that must be treated in hospitals, lowering resource use and associated costs.
MBT will reduce the long-term costs of infection care, through reducing patient readmissions and need to treat infection complications.