Category Archives: Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT)

Research Provides New Data; C. difficile Changes In Testing and Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes in Testing

For example, new data published in The New England Journal of Medicine underscore the shortcomings of advances in testing technology, suggested Sahil Khanna, MBBS, an associate professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science, in Rochester, Minn. (2020;382[14]:1320-1330).

At first glance, the study, which used data from 10 sites nationwide to derive a national estimate of the incidence of CDI, reported a relatively unchanged rate of the disease over a six-year period: 476,400 cases in 2011 and 462,100 cases in 2017. However, Dr. Khanna noted that after adjusting for the increasing use of nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), the researchers concluded that the incidence of CDI had actually decreased by 24% during the study period, including a 36% drop in healthcare-acquired CDI cases.

The study highlights a problem with NAAT, according to Khanna.

“NAAT is approximately 95% sensitive in detecting the C. difficile gene, but it cannot determine if the gene is active and toxin-producing, so it has the potential for overdiagnosis and for producing clinical false positives,” he explained. “Because of this, it’s important that we interpret NAAT results in the context of patient symptoms.”

Clinicians must be selective when deciding which patients should be tested, he said, only using it in patients who have acute diarrhea with no obvious alternative explanation, and who have the risk factors for CDI. These include older age, longer hospitalization, immunosuppression, use of antibiotics, gastric acid-suppressing agents, gastrointestinal surgery, manipulation of the gastrointestinal tract, and tube feeding.

“Patients not experiencing an active infection can be colonized with C. difficile, in which case there is a risk of a clinical false positives and unnecessary treatment,” Khanna emphasized.

An alternative testing approach now recommended by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is the use of a multistep algorithm including glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) to identify pathogenic bacteria and enzyme immunoassay (EIA) to detect C. difficile toxin (Clin Infect Dis 2018;66[7]:e1-e48). NAAT should be reserved for instances in which results from GDH and EIA are inconclusive, the guidelines recommend.

“Unfortunately, NAAT remains the most commonly used test method,” Khanna said, adding that laboratories are increasingly adopting a two-step protocol of GDH and EIA.

Recurrent CDI mostly occurs in people:65 and older who take antibiotics and receive medical care
staying in hospitals and nursing homes for a long time with weakened immune systems

Treatment Changes

The treatment landscape for CDI also has changed over the past few years, noted Kim Ly, PharmD, a clinical pharmacy specialist in critical care and infectious diseases at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, in Las Vegas. Bezlotoxumab (Zinplava, Merck), a monoclonal antibody, is now approved for combination treatment of toxin B–producing CDI, along with an established antibiotic. Additionally, metronidazole, while still approved for the treatment of CDI, is no longer recommended by IDSA/SHEA as a first-line agent for primary CDI in adults.

“For severe initial episodes of CDI, oral vancomycin and fidaxomicin [Dificid, Merck] are now the preferred agents, and metronidazole is only recommended for nonsevere initial episodes when patients are unable to be treated with oral vancomycin or fidaxomicin,” Kim explained.

For a first recurrence of CDI, the IDSA/SHEA guidelines recommend administering oral vancomycin as a tapered and pulsed regimen or fidaxomicin, rather than a standard 10-day course of vancomycin. For subsequent recurrences, clinicians can use the same regimen, with the addition of a standard course of oral vancomycin followed by rifaximin or fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).

Metronidazole comes into play again in the management of fulminant CDI, Ly noted.

“The IDSA/SHEA guidelines recommend treating this with oral or rectal vancomycin 500 mg four times daily along with intravenous metronidazole,” she explained.

Microbiota Disruption

Given that antibiotic-induced microbiota disruption “is far and away the number one precipitant for getting recurrent CDI,” selecting the CDI treatment with the least impact on the microbiota is important, said former IDSA president Cynthia Sears, MD, a professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore.

“Vancomycin is the most commonly used therapy for CDI and its recurrences, but it decreases intestinal diversity and so impedes the recovery of the normal microbiota after CDI, setting the stage for CDI recurrence,” Sears said. “We have learned that vancomycin hits the colon with full force when taken orally because it is not absorbed, and it has off-target effects on lots of anaerobic bacteria that are essential to intestinal resistance of CDI.”

Fidaxomicin has less of an effect on the microbiota and has been shown to sometimes decrease the risk for CDI recurrence when compared with vancomycin (N Engl J Med 2011;364[5]:422-431), but it can be expensive, she said.

Fecal Microbiota Transplantation

FMT is a less expensive, highly effective treatment that has received increasingly widespread attention, specifically for the management of recurrent CDI. Despite the enthusiasm surrounding the treatment, Sears expressed significant reservations about employing it.

“While there’s no question that FMT benefits patients with recurrent CDI, I feel we don’t yet have a quality-controlled product that we know is safe as well as being effective,” she said.

Sears pointed to two recent FDA safety alerts that warned of the harm that FMT can cause. The first, from 2019, reported that stool from a single donor had not been thoroughly screened before FMT and contained extended-spectrum ss-lactamase–producing Escherichia coli. The specimen had been used in separate FMTs for two immunocompromised patients, leading to infection with the pathogen and death in one case.

In another FDA safety alert from earlier this year, the organization said a stool bank specimen that had undergone comprehensive screening nevertheless contained enteropathogenic E. coli and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli. Transfer of the stool for the treatment of recurrent CDI resulted in one nonfatal infection and one death.

“Stool banks try very hard to be sure their specimens are free of disease-causing microbes, but if you have very low-level colonization, molecular diagnostics can miss this,” Sears said. More recently, she noted, the FDA has also raised concerns about the possibility of transferring SARS-CoV-2 through FMT, given that the virus can be present in the stool of infected individuals.

What would a safer and equally effective microbiota-based treatment look like? According to Sears, while microbial diversity seems to be protective against recurrent CDI, there are suggestions that the administration of specific strains may be able to treat CDI and can be produced under the same strict quality control manufacturing processes as other FDA-approved drugs. One study published in 2015 using human and mouse samples found that colonization with Clostridium scindens, a strain of Firmicutes, increased resistance to CDI (Nature 2015;517[7533]:205-208). Many microbiota-based therapeutics are in the research pipeline as well.

“I am optimistic that we will see something emerge that’s safer and still as effective as FMT for patients, whether it’s an orally or rectally administered product,” Sears said.

 

Source:  https://www.idse.net/Bacterial-Infections/Article/12-20/C-difficile-Old-Disease-New-Changes-In-Management/62162

Clinical Trial Study Moving Closer to Having Safe and Effective Products to Restore the Gut Microbiome for Patients with Recurrent C. difficile Infections.

Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S.

A new study published online in the journal ClinicalInfectious Diseases looked at the use of a non-frozen capsule of microbiome restoration therapy for treating patients with recurrent C. difficile infection.

“Patients with C. difficile are typically managed with antibiotics or fecal transplantation for recurrent C. difficile,” says the study’s author, Sahil Khanna, M.B.B.S., a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Khanna says fecal transplantation has been demonstrated to have high success rates by restoring the gut microbiome of patients.  However, he says there are several challenges with fecal transplantation including standardization of the product, keeping it frozen, and mitigating the risk of infectious disease transmission during the procedure. 

To help reduce the risks, Dr. Khanna and his team studied a transplantation method using a non-frozen capsule instead of whole stool transplantation. An initial dose-finding, the investigator-initiated study looked at the efficacy of different doses of fecal matter and the safety of performing microbiome restoration therapy using an oral product, RBX7455 developed by Rebiotix, Inc. The team found no concerns related to safety.

“Our study has several implications,” says Dr. Khanna. “We think that products like capsules may be able to replace fecal transplantation that is currently done via a colonoscopy. We also think that products that are non-frozen may allow for repeat dosing and for patient-administered self-treatment at home. The good news is that we are  moving closer to having safe and effective products to restore the gut microbiome for patients with recurrent C. difficile.”

Dr. Khanna says that larger clinical trials and blinded, placebo-controlled trials are the next step in moving this potential treatment from research into practice.

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To read this article in its entirety please click on the following link to be redirected. Thank you. https://advancingthescience.mayo.edu/2020/09/29/study-moves-microbiome-based-therapies-closer-to-the-mainstream-treatment-for-c-difficile-infection/

FDA Publishes Additional Safety Protections For Use of Fecal Microbiota for Transplantation (FMT): Testing Donor Stool for Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and Shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC)

On April 6, 2020 the following publication was released by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA):

 

 

Information Pertaining to Additional Safety Protections Regarding Use of Fecal Microbiota for Transplantation — Testing of Stool Donors for Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and Shigatoxin-Producing Escherichia coli

On March 12, 2020, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) informed health care providers and patients of the potential risk of serious or life-threatening infections with the use of fecal microbiota for transplantation (FMT).  Infections caused by enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and Shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) have occurred following investigational use of FMT for treatment of Clostridium difficile (also called Clostridioides difficile or C. difficile) infection not responsive to standard therapies. FDA suspects these infections are due to transmission of these pathogenic organisms from FMT product supplied by a stool bank company based in the United States.

After the release of FDA’s March 12, 2020, Safety Alert, the stool bank company publicly acknowledged FDA’s safety communication, so we are now identifying the stool bank as OpenBiome, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Because of these serious adverse events that occurred with investigational FMT, FDA has determined that additional protections are needed for any investigational use of FMT, whether under an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) on file with the FDA or under FDA’s enforcement discretion policy.

FDA has already communicated with OpenBiome and individually with IND holders for investigational FMT to underscore the need for additional protections.

These additional protections include:

  1. Testing FMT donor stool by nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT) for EPEC and STEC to exclude use of stool that tests positive for either EPEC or STEC.
    • Testing of stool from each donor before and after multiple stool donations, no more than 60 days apart; and, as applicable, quarantining FMT product lots manufactured from these donations until both pre- and post-donation EPEC and STEC tests are confirmed negative.
  2. Testing of all FMT products currently in storage for which the donor has not undergone stool testing for both EPEC and STEC using NAAT as described above.
    • Until this testing is able to be completed, placing those FMT products in quarantine until they have been tested using NAAT and found negative for EPEC and STEC.
    • In the case of FMT products manufactured using pooled donations from a single donor, performing stool testing on individual stool samples (not pooled) within the testing window described above for a given lot of FMT product.

Patients considering FMT to treat C. difficile infection should speak to their health care provider to understand the potential risks associated with the product’s use.

FDA encourages all health care providers who have administered FMT products to their patients to report suspected adverse events to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Additional Resources:

Safety Alert Regarding Use of Fecal Microbiota for Transplantation and Risk of Serious Adverse Events Likely Due to Transmission of Pathogenic Organisms – March 12, 2020

Update to March 12, 2020 Safety Alert Regarding Use of Fecal Microbiota for Transplantation and Risk of Serious Adverse Events Likely Due to Transmission of Pathogenic Organisms – March 13, 2020

 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Informs Health Care Providers and Patients of the Potential Risk of Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Virus and COVID-19 By the Use of Fecal Microbiota for Transplantation (FMT)

The global public health community is responding to a rapidly evolving pandemic of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that was first detected in China.

 

The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes has been named “COVID-19.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing health care providers and patients of the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 virus by the use of fecal microbiota for transplantation (FMT) and that FDA has determined that additional safety protections are needed.

Summary of the Issue

Several recent studies have documented the presence of SARS-CoV-2 ribonucleic acid (RNA) and/or SARS-CoV-2 virus in stool of infected individuals.1,2,3 This information suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may be transmitted by FMT, although the risk of such transmission is unknown.4 At this time, testing nasopharyngeal specimens from stool donors for SARS-CoV-2 may not be widely available. Furthermore, there is limited information on the availability and sensitivity of direct testing of stool for SARS-CoV-2.

Additional Protections for the Use of FMT

At this time, FDA is advising that clinical use of FMT has the potential to transmit SARS-CoV-2, whether used as part of a study under an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) on file with the FDA or under FDA’s enforcement discretion policy. To address the risk, stool used for FMT should have been donated before December 1, 2019. Due to the potential for serious adverse events to occur, FDA has determined that the following protections are needed for any use of FMT that is found to be necessary for clincal care if it involves stool donated after December 1, 2019:

  • Donor screening with questions directed at identifying donors who may be currently or recently infected with SARS-CoV-2;
  • Testing donors and/or donor stool for SARS-CoV-2, as feasible;
  • Development of criteria for exclusion of donors and donor stool based on screening and testing; and
  • Informed consent that includes information about the potential for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via FMT, including FMT prepared from stool from donors who are asymptomatic for COVID-19.

Actions

FDA is in the process of notifying IND holders of the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via FMT and of FDA’s determination that additional safety protections that are needed.

FDA is communicating this information with this statement to all other stakeholders to ensure that everyone is fully informed.

As the scientific community learns more about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, FDA will provide further information as warranted.

Information for Health Care Providers and Patients on Enforcement Discretion

In July 2013, FDA issued a guidance document stating that it intends to exercise enforcement discretion under limited conditions regarding the IND requirements for the use of FMT products to treat C. difficile infection in patients that have not responded to standard therapies. The guidance states that FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion provided that the treating physician obtains adequate consent for the use of FMT from the patient or his or her legally authorized representative. The consent should include, at a minimum, a statement that the use of FMT to treat C. difficile is investigational and a discussion of its potential risks.

Reporting Adverse Events

FDA encourages all health care providers and patients to report any suspected adverse events or side effects related to the administration of FMT products to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

 


1 Xiao F, Tang M, Zheng X, Liu Y, Li X, Shan H, Evidence for gastrointestinal infection of SARS-CoV-2, Gastroenterology (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.02.055External Link Disclaimer
2 Tang A, Tong Z-d, Wang H-l, Dai Y-x, Li K-f, Liu J-n, et al. Detection of novel coronavirus by RT-PCR in stool specimen from asymptomatic child, China. Emerg Infect Dis. (2020), https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2606.200301External Link Disclaimer from https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/6/20-0301_article
3 Wang, W, Xu, Y, Gao, R, et al., Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in Different Types of Clinical Specimens. JAMA (2020), https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2020.3786External Link Disclaimer
4 Gu J, Han B, Wang J, COVID-19: Gastrointestinal manifestations and potential fecal-oral transmission, Gastroenterology (2020), doi: https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.02.054

US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Issued a Safety Alert About Potential Risks of Serious, Even Life-Threatening Infections Linked To Fecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday issued a safety alert about the potential risk of serious, even life-threatening, infections linked to fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) after six patients were infected with diarrhea-causing Escherichia coli following the procedure.  March 13, 2020

According to the alert, two patients developed enteropathogenic E coli (EPEC) infections, and four developed Shiga toxin–producing E coli (STEC), after receiving FMT for Clostridoides difficile infection. Four of the six patients required hospitalization.

“FDA is informing patients and healthcare providers of the potential risk of transmission of pathogenic bacteria by FMT products and the resultant serious adverse reactions that may occur,” the agency said. “Patients considering FMT for the treatment of C. difficile infection should speak to their health care provider to understand the associated risks.”

STEC is a pathogenic form of E coli that causes abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and mild fever. EPEC generally doesn’t cause any symptoms, but some strains can cause diarrhea.

Change in screening protocols

The stool used in the procedures all came from Boston-based OpenBiome, the country’s largest stool bank. The company said in a press release yesterday that the cases are the first reports of likely transmission of pathogens by FMT involving stool that came from OpenBiome, which has shipped more than 50,000 FMT treatments to physicians since 2013.

The patients who developed the infections received FMT product prepared from three OpenBiome donors. The two patients who developed EPEC infections were treated with stool from two donors, and the six STEC patients received stool from one donor. OpenBiome says all unused material from the donors has been destroyed.

The FDA says bacterial isolates from the patients’ stools are not yet available to determine if the STEC or EPEC organisms are genetically identical to the organisms from the stool donors—a finding that would confirm that the donor stool was the source of the infection.

In response to the safety alert, OpenBiome says it is immediately implementing changes to its screening program in collaboration with the FDA.

While the company has previously screened donor samples for STEC via enzyme immunoassay, and says the donor involved in the STEC cases tested negative at all screens, OpenBiome will add polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for STEC to its screening process. PCR tests on retained donor samples conducted after Openbiome was notified of the infections were found to be positive for STEC.

The retained stool samples from the donors linked to the EPEC infections were found to be positive for EPEC upon further testing from OpenBiome. The company says it has not previously screened donors for EPEC, a position based on international and national guidelines, but will immediately implement EPEC screening by PCR into its donor screening protocol.

“In addition to updating and implementing STEC and EPEC screening into our quality and safety protocols, OpenBiome is also working with FDA to implement retrospective screening of units to ensure that available material meets these new standards,” the company said.

After reporting the infections to the FDA, OpenBiome received information that two additional FMT recipients who received stool from the donor linked to the STEC infections had died. The company said in an update today that the treating clinician for one of the patients determined that the patient had died from underlying cardiac causes, and testing for STEC was not performed. In the second case, testing of donor material was negative for STEC.

“Therefore, it was determined that the death was unrelated to STEC,” the company said.

FMT safety issues

FMT has been found in several studies to be a highly effective treatment for recurrent C difficile infections that aren’t responding to antibiotics, and at least 10,000 FMT procedures for recurrent C difficile are performed each year. FMT is also being investigated for treating other conditions in more than 300 trials.

The idea behind the procedure is to introduce healthy bacteria from a donor into the gut microbiome of a sick recipient and restore the balance between good and bad bacteria.

But this is the second safety alert issued by the FDA regarding FMT. In June 2019, the agency warned of the potential for dangerous infections after two FMT patients developed drug-resistant bloodstream infections and one died, and the agency halted a number of FMT trials until additional screening measures could be put in place. A subsequent paper in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that the two patients, both of whom were enrolled in clinical trials at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, had extended-spectrum beta-lacatamase (ESBL)-producing E coli in their blood.

The two patients had both received stool from Mass General that came from the same donor. While the hospital had screened the stool for C difficile and the presence of drug-resistant pathogens by the hospital, it had not screened it for ESBL-producing E coli. The authors of the paper could not conclusively attribute the infections to FMT, but suspected the patients likely acquired the pathogen from the procedure.

RESOURCE:  http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2020/03/fda-warns-about-infections-linked-fecal-microbiota-transplants?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium