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Cambridge University Science Magazine

Clostridium difficile (C. diff) is a bacterium typically content to hitch a ride in our guts among the trillions of other bacteria that call the human intestine home. However, if the balance of our internal microbial soup shifts, C. diff can quickly dominate, causing a host of unpleasant symptoms. Faecal microbiota transplants (FMT) have been used to treat recurrent C. diff infections for approximately a decade, but the process of administering donor stool via colonoscopy is difficult to standardise and carries a risk of transmitting other infections. 

Fortunately, FMT may soon be revolutionised by the development of the ‘crapsule’. Researchers have found a novel way of purifying donor stool to create a capsule containing the beneficial bacteria required to treat C. diff. Recently, one such ‘crapsule’ has shown promise against a placebo but is yet to be directly compared to current FMT practices. Some concerns have been raised against the potency of the pill, yet FMT in capsule form is likely to be more acceptable to patients and safer than traditional methods, with the added potential of personalising treatment. FMT ‘crapsules’ may be the answer to a much needed standardisation of C. diff treatment in a safe and bespoke manner.

Lily Taylor