How a faecal microbiota transplant changed Kevin’s life

How a faecal microbiota transplant changed Kevin’s life

Kevin had his life transformed by something most of us are flushing down the toilet.

A self-employed agricultural scientist, Kevin breeds and tests thousands of wheat and barley varieties for every major plant breeding company in Australia. You may even have eaten something that started on Kevin’s property!

In 2020, just as Kevin was starting to contemplate retirement, his bowel cancer screening kit came up positive and a colonoscopy revealed a tumour. After surgeries in December 2020 and August 2021, Kevin contracted recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection, or rCDI.

rCDI is a terrible, life-changing bacterial infection in the gut. It’s debilitating and can even be fatal. People who have it often can’t work or do any physical activity, so they can’t live normal lives.

Kevin’s outlook was not good.

After a period confined to his hospital room as they attempted to fight the rCDI with antibiotics, Kevin returned home and continued to fight the recurrent infection with ongoing antibiotic treatments. Each time he attempted to live without ongoing antibiotic medication, his debilitating C. diff infection would return.

Conventional treatments like antibiotics aren't always effective in treating rCDI, but faecal microbiota for transplant (FMT) has come to the rescue with amazing results. We collect poo from a healthy donor, process and test it, then give it to clinicians to treat disease or relieve symptoms in patients. 

As part of a clinical trial at Fiona Stanley Hospital, Kevin became one of the earliest recipients of FMT provided by Lifeblood through the Rotary WA Health Innovation Centre in Perth. To his great relief, the FMT worked very quickly, and he returned home and was straight back into harvest within days of the transplant.

Since then, Kevin has enjoyed excellent health, with no signs of his rCDI returning.

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Lifeblood is funded by Australian governments to provide blood, blood products and services to the Australian Community. For Microbiome, Lifeblood has been grateful to receive generous contributions from Western Australian Government (through the Market-led Proposals funding pathway), Rotary WA, HBD and the McCusker Charitable Foundation.