Curtin and Lifeblood join forces to develop faecal transplant pills

Curtin and Lifeblood join forces to develop faecal transplant pills

Curtin University and Australian Red Cross Lifeblood are joining forces to develop a new faecal transplant capsule for Australian clinical trials.

The partnership between Curtin University and Lifeblood aims to design and co-develop a more patient-friendly, orally administered frozen liquid Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT) capsule, which can be used in large clinical trials with patients suffering from serious infections of the gastrointestinal tract and to investigate the use of FMT for a range of other medical conditions.

Australian Red Cross Lifeblood successfully submitted a proposal via the WA Government’s Market-led Proposals pathway to expand its FMT program in Perth. Earlier this year, Lifeblood received $2.5 million in State Government funding, with a portion of the funds being used to develop an encapsulated product.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the groundbreaking collaboration with Lifeblood reflects a shared vision to advance medical innovation and enhance patient outcomes.

“This partnership is an exciting opportunity to leverage our organisations’ research excellence and revolutionise how biologicals are being used to treat life-threatening diseases,” Professor Hayne said.

“The collaboration could see a significant step forward in advancing patient care and accessibility to treatment for thousands of Australians experiencing debilitating gut conditions.”

FMT is a procedure that uses healthy human donor stool to help restore beneficial gut bacteria.

Traditionally, faecal transplants are administered via colonoscopy, enema or nasogastric tube, and the development of a liquid capsule, filled with screened stool, could offer a simpler treatment option.

Lifeblood Executive Director Stuart Chesneau said there is growing interest in FMT capsules as a preferred delivery method.

“There is a pressing demand to make FMT more accessible for clinical trials so we’re very excited to partner with Curtin on a project which has the potential to remove cost and time barriers for patients,” Mr Chesneau said.

“Lifeblood is committed to changing lives through donated biological products, and we are incredibly grateful to the WA Government for its support of the Lifeblood Microbiome Program which makes this new partnership possible.”

Project leads, Dr Hani Al-Salami and Dr Armin Mooranian, from the Curtin Medical School and the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI), emphasised the immense potential of the project.

“This venture to develop a new platform for pharmaceutical encapsulation of FMT frozen liquid will be our first step towards delivering a prototype for clinical trials,” Dr Al-Salami said.

“Unlike invasive methods of delivery, such as colonoscopy, these capsules will enable frequent dosing for a more tailored and more effective treatment regimen, offering new hope to patients battling resistant infections which don’t respond to standard therapies.”

The collaboration, which will be based at the Rotary WA Health Innovation Centre in Perth, aims to deliver a prototype liquid FMT capsule, ready for clinical trials, by late 2024.