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It's here, America's first 'Poop Bank'

Eliška Didyk stores a human stool sample in OpenBiome's laboratory facilities at M.I.T
Eliška Didyk stores a human stool sample in OpenBiome's laboratory facilities at M.I.T
Carolyn Edelstein

That's right. You read it correctly. But the bank is really called OpenBiome, a medical facility started nearly a year ago by Mark Smith, a 27-year-old doctoral candidate, and three colleagues.

As reported by Fox News Wednesday, OpenBiome's mission is to provide doctors with safe, inexpensive fecal material from screened donors to treat patients with Clostridium difficile (C-diff), a gastrointestinal infection that kills at least 14,000 Americans a year. Doctors discovered fecal transplants are an effective treatment.

Smith tells the New York Times, “People are dying, and it’s crazy because we know what the solution is. People are doing fecal transplants in their basements and may not be doing any of the right screening or sterile preparation. We need an intermediate solution until there are commercial products on the market.”

C. diff lives among trillions of other bacteria in normal, healthy humans. When antibiotics wipe out the competition, the bacteria can produce toxins, causing persistent diarrhea.

The bacteria are increasingly gaining resistance to conventional treatments. However, a donor’s stool can be transplanted in the intestine or colon of a sick patient via an enema, colonoscopy or nasogastric tube. The healthy bacteria fight off C. diff and re-establish a normal level of bacteria.

The New England Journal, published a study last year reporting fecal transplants were nearly twice as effective as antibiotics in treating patients with recurring C. diff.

We told you last October about the "poop pill" being able to help people with C. diff.

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