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Faecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) in immunotherapy associated colitis

St Vincent’s Hospital

  • Cardiovascular Early-Mid Career Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 1 July, 2023
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Dr. Craig Haifer

Project Summary

A randomised controlled trial assessing use of oral FMT in the management of immunotherapy associated colitis.

What is the issue for NSW?

Cancer immunotherapy has revolutionised the treatment and outcomes for multiple cancers even when diagnosed with advanced disease. However, side effects are common including diarrhoea and colitis (bowel inflammation) which can affect up to 40% of patients and leads to a reduction in quality of life, increased need for hospitalisation and cessation of their life-saving immunotherapy. Current therapy relies on immunosuppression, which is often poorly tolerated, ineffective, associated with relapse on withdrawal of therapy and associated with adverse events. This is why there is a need for safe and well tolerated novel therapies.

What does the research aim to do and how?

FMT is the transfer of a healthy gut microbiome derived from a donor into a patient with disease and is effective in the management of various forms of bowel inflammation. This has led to interest in using FMT to treat this immunotherapy related colitis.

We aim to assess the safety and efficacy of using orally administered FMT capsules to treat immunotherapy related colitis. Our hypothesis is that a short course of oral FMT can induce remission, lead to a reduction in hospitalisation and an early resumption of their cancer immunotherapy.