Amanda Schaffer of The Atlantic took a deep look into OpenBiome and the policy questions facing regulators on how to advance safe access to fecal microbiota transplantation. The result is this terrific piece. Schaffer writes:
"[FMT] is about as close to a miracle cure as medicine offers. Yet access to fecal transplants has proven challenging. As recently as 2013, Amy Barto, a gastroenterologist at the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, said her patients had to find their own stool donors, whom the clinic would screen individually. On the day of the procedure, the donor had to provide a fresh stool sample, which Barto said she personally mixed using a blender from Target and transplanted into the patient’s colon. 'It was embarrassing and stressful for patients to find their own donors, and expensive to have them screened,' she said. 'I did about 100 procedures with the blender, and it was not efficient.'
'When OpenBiome was established, my quality of life went through the roof,' Barto said. More importantly, access to the procedure 'just blossomed.' More doctors were willing to get involved and patients were able to able to get the procedure more quickly, with fewer barriers and less expense."
Read the full piece here.