Making a deposit: Faecal biobanks have ‘great potential’

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The interest in stool transplants or faecal microbial transplants has gathered momentum in recent years giving rise to the concept of faecal biobanks.

Much like the the banking of biological samples and tissue, the collection and storage of faecal matter would ensure a healthy microbiome range is readily available for transplantation into a new host.

It’s an idea considered by Ghent University’s Dr Tom Van de Wiele to be worthy of further consideration.

“Faecal biobanks are certainly an interesting topic,” explained Dr Van de Wiele, associate professor at the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET).

“The idea is you select your interesting faecal sample based on specific functionality and presence of specific microbes or consortia of microbes.”

“In that sense, the idea of biobanking those samples have great potential to cure disease and indeed could be interesting.”

Faecal biobanks have already shown promise in addressing patients with gut disorders, especially those infected with Clostridium difficile.

Speaking at Probiota in Berlin, Dr Van de Wiele also took the opportunity to explain the immense possibilities of this research area while also expressing caution.

“The new generation of microbiome-based products also require proper characterisation and safety assessment in order to fulfil all regulatory criteria for neutraceutical or pharmaceutical applications,” he said.  

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