Bounties attract serious brainpower to the challenge.
The idea is to create a company or a system that will collect and store customers' stool samples over time and use them continuously in research and personalized treatments if needed.
Personalized medicine approach to ensure the maximum quality of the medical care
Support research of the interactions between the gut microbiota and immune system on an individual level
Support development of personalized and effective therapies for intestinal, neurological, autoimmune diseases and allergies
How would it work?
Patients bringing their blood and stool samples would sign the agreement if they want their samples to be "anonymously" stored on ice to support research and allow future personalized therapies. It would be anonymous as long as the patients doesn't need the sample for treatment.
The samples would be taken be thy company/research center, prepared and stored in dry ice at extremely low temperatures as fecal ("poop") pills . Every sample would be divided in at least 10 pills. Samples would be registered in the database under the unique code. Every time a new sample from an "old" patient arrives, the sample would be added to the user sample bank. That way, samples from each time when a person visits a doctor and brings a stool sample would be stored and recorded in a private online database.
Problem: Although it was shown that stool samples with corresponding microbiome can be stable for up to 18 months on -80°C , it's not known if the microbiome can resist the stress of being frozen for longer periods.
Company would use the sample "leftovers" to do research on gut microbiota, create valuable statistics on microbiome data and investigate interactions of the gut microbiota and patient's immune system. Read more in the Additional infomation section below.
Since gut microbiota obviously plan an important role in person's immune response, fecal implants are being used in treatments of intestine diseases more and more. Interestingly, fecal implants have been proposed in treating allergies, intra or extra-intestinal tumors, and psychological and autoimmune diseases, too . Shockingly, 2 patients were cured from "alopecia and their hair started to grow again! Therefore, if a person develops certain allergy or a disease, it would have the bank of its own stool samples, a.k.a. fecal transplants ready for fecal microbiome transplantation (FMT). On the other hand, if a person develops disorders that cannot be cured by its own stool samples, healthy FTM of another patients with "the most suitable" immune profile would be transplanted.
Allergies are huge health, social, and economic burden of society and can be very dangerous. There is currently no cure for allergies, just products that help detect the cause and offer relief when symptoms occur. Allergies can be treated by ingesting/inhaling the increasing doses of the antigen in a controlled hospital environment, but these efforts didn't result in significant improvement and can be dangerous.
The most interesting supporting research
Since it was for many times a topic of discussion on this platform (company idea, removal of immune cells repsonsible for allergies, etc.), I want to highlight the potential of the FTM therapy for treating allergies.
Report from a clinical phase I trial study stated that a single oral FMT therapy in patients with severe peanut allergy led to a significant increase in the threshold of reactivity to peanut at both 1 month and 4 months after treatment. Interestingly, participants who responded to FMT had increases in the regulatory T cells associated with immune tolerance and reductions in the T helper cells associated with allergy. Additionally, when their microbiomes were transplanted into a strain of allergy-prone mice, the mice showed similar immune changes and were protected from anaphylaxis when challenged with food allergens. In contrast, when the non-responders’ microbiomes were transplanted, the allergic mice were not protected.
Probiotics vs fecal microbiota transplants (FMT)
It was shown that although probiotics alter the metabolism of the indigenous gut flora, this effect is mainly restricted to limited bacterial species, and have ends in a short-term inhabitation and effect on the intestine. On the contrary, recent reportson the treatment with FMT suggest that "feces contain a superior combination of intestinal bacterial strains and is more favorable for repairing disrupted native microbiota by introducing a complete, stable community of intestinal micro-organisms". Scientists also state that FMT has additional proteins, bile acids, and vitamins which might contribute to the recovery of gut function .
THis idea could fit into an idea of microbial museums easily :)
How would you make the storage or handling of these cryopreserved samples easier and more convenient?
Can you think of another application of these FTM samples?
Treating herpes symptoms by fecal microbiota transplantation
J. NikolaMar 20, 2022
Treating herpes simplex or zoster infections (ulcers, overall health effects) by transplantation of the fecal microbiota (FTM) from the donor WITH herpes virus, but with no visual symptoms.
Solve the issue of nasty ulcers on the mouth, body, or genital area of patients with the herpes virus.
How would it work?
Some people get infected by the herpes virus and express symptoms every time the stressor appears or an immune system gets weakened. Others never get infected or never express symptoms, we don't know for sure.
The research proposal:
find people that are infected by herpes virus and express symptoms every once in a while
find people that never had herpes and find out if they ever got in contact with the virus
define three groups: 1) with virus and symptoms, 2) with virus without symptoms and 3) with no virus
analyze stool (fecal microbiome, gut microbiome) and blood from the patients from three groups
transplant fecal microbiota from the second group to the first group participants and track progress
I searched the literature and couldn't find any research dealing with this. What I found is that sometimes these viruses can infect the patientsthrough the FTM , but in this case it's not a problem since we would be transfecting FTM from the infected patients into infected patients. No damage would be done, but safety measures should be strictly regulated before the research.