OpenBiome launches personalized microbiome banking service

The service will allow individuals to preserve a copy of their healthy microbiome for the treatment of C. difficile infection.

October 13, 2015
Contact: Sasha Lieberman, media@openbiome.org |  617-575-2201|  www.openbiome.org
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Medford, Mass – A new pilot service launched at OpenBiome, the first and largest public stool bank, will allow individuals to cryogenically preserve a sample of their fecal microbiota.  In the event that they require a fecal transplant for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infection, participants may use their banked samples for the procedure.

Fecal microbiota transplantation, or FMT, is a procedure in which a stool preparation from a healthy human donor is infused into the colon of a patient. It’s typically delivered via colonoscopy, enema, or a nasogastric tube.

Fecal microbiota transplantation has been shown across multiple studies to be 89 percent effective in curing Clostridium difficile infection, while standard antibiotics yield cure rates of less than 40 percent.  C. difficile is the most common hospital-acquired infection in the U.S., and one in five patients with C. difficile will have to endure the infection more than once.

OpenBiome is a nonprofit stool bank dedicated to expanding safe access to fecal microbiota transplantation and catalyzing research into the human microbiome. Founded in 2012 by a team of microbiologists, clinicians, and public health advocates from Harvard and MIT, OpenBiome has since provided over 7,000 treatments to more than 400 partner medical centers in six countries, and has supported 10 clinical and translational research studies.     

OpenBiome’s stool banking model provides rigorously screened material from universal stool donors for the treatment of recurrent C. difficile infections. However, there may be advantages to repopulating an individual’s gut with their own healthy microbial community, withdrawn from their PersonalBiome bank. PersonalBiome participants will also be eligible to receive a range of customized screening, sequencing, consultation, processing, encapsulation, and cryopreservation services.

OpenBiome will also work with hospitals and clinics serving patients who are at higher risk of contracting the infection to facilitate their participation in the new program.

“We’re thrilled to offer OpenBiome’s bio-banking services to individuals for their personal use,” said James Burgess, Co-founder and Executive Director of OpenBiome. “While we remain committed to treating patients with recurrent C. difficile following our universal donor model, we are pleased to respond to growing demand for a service that allows individuals to undergo FMT treatment with their own unique microbial communities.”

Individuals or hospital representatives who wish to learn more about participating in the PersonalBiome pilot launch should contact personalbiome@openbiome.org and refer to www.openbiome.org/personalbiome

OpenBiome is a nonprofit stool bank dedicated to expanding safe access to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) therapies. Founded by a team of microbiologists, public health advocates, and concerned citizens, OpenBiome aims to significantly reduce the practical barriers for clinicians providing FMTs, while connecting scientists across studies and disciplines.