Through research, Dr. Christine Lee and her team are improving care and restoring quality of life for people with chronic gut disorders.
What is fecal microbiota transplant (FMT)?
Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) administers stool from a healthy donor to patients who have gastrointestinal disorders such as recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). In Canada, CDI is the most common infection acquired by patients while in hospital, and the leading cause of death due to infectious diarrhea.
FMT can be used to treat patients with recurrent CDI when antibiotics haven’t worked. However, it is not widely available in Canada, and more research is required to see whether it’s effective for other chronic gut disorders.
FMT can be administered through the nose (via nasogastric tube) or mouth (in pill form) or by enema or colonoscopy.
FMT Research at Island Health
Dr. Christine Lee and her research team are working to improve access to FMT in BC and across Canada, and to investigate FMT as a treatment option for other conditions.
They’re testing whether FMT is effective for gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and whether lyophilized (freeze-dried) FMT works as well as fresh and frozen forms. If so, lyophilized FMT could significantly improve access and reduce costs: it’s less expensive, requires fewer donors, and has a longer shelf-life than other forms, which makes it easier to store and to transport.
Become a Stool Donor
Stool donors play an essential role in FMT care and research. Becoming a donor is relatively easy, and many people qualify. You may be eligible to become a stool donor if:
- You are physically and mentally healthy
- You have a healthy body weight
- You are not on any prescription medications
- You live in or near Victoria, BC
- You are willing to donate your stool and drop off the sample at Royal Jubilee Hospital (1952 Bay Street, Victoria, BC).
If you’re interested in supporting FMT research as a donor or would like to learn more, email us at FMTaccess@viha.ca.
Dr. Lee’s FMT program began in 2008 when a 75-year-old man with recurrent CDI did not respond to any treatment. The only remaining option was surgery to remove his colon, but Dr. Lee consulted on his case, and she recommended FMT instead. Within 24 hours of treatment, his diarrhea stopped and he recovered completely.
We have offered more than 2000 FMTs to patients for clinical care or research; FMT has found it to be safe and effective. Watch the video below to learn about another patient’s journey from fear to hope through FMT.
If you’d like to learn more about the FMT program, become a stool donor, or find out about study opportunities, please email FMTaccess@viha.ca.
If you are a physician and you would like to request FMT for patient care or your research studies, please complete the following survey.