Every year, about half a million patients are infected by Clostridium difficile, an otherwise harmless bacterium that can multiply out of control when the use of antibiotics upsets the balance of microorganisms in the gut. In 2011, about 15,000 deaths were directly attributable to the infection, according to a recent study by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Current probiotic treatments, which promote the growth of helpful bacteria, have been ineffective against the infection, also known as C. diff.
But work being done at U.Va.’s Division of Infectious Diseases and International Health could lead to a new treatment by the end of the calendar year, according to Dr. Bill Petri, chief of the division. That’s an unusually optimistic estimate in medical research, where scientific breakthroughs predate new treatments by several years.
“Some of these advanced probiotics are actually being tested today in the clinic for their role,” Petri said. “We’re actually participating in advanced clinical trials at U.Va.”
Immunologist Erica L. Buonomo was the driving force behind the new discovery, Petri said, which has to do with the role of white blood cells in protecting against C. diff.
Buonomo found that a particular type of white blood cells, called eosinophils, act as a barrier against the infection, which breaks down the lining of the gut. These eosinophils are recruited by a protein called IL-25. A serious C. diff infection kills eosinophils, allowing the bacteria to enter the gut.
The researchers found that gut bacteria stimulate the production of IL-25, so the right probiotic could help with the production of protective eosinophils.
“We identified a pathway in the immune response that reduces the severity of an infection,” Buonomo said. “When we activate this pathway, we find mice are a lot less sick.”
The discovery would be especially helpful for elderly patients, who are most at risk. It also could have larger implications in the world of microbiology.
Eosinophils are best known for their role in allergic reactions and asthma attacks, when a high number of eosinophils cause inflammation.
The function of these cells was not entirely clear before Buonomo’s discovery. She believes this knowledge could help doctors fight other types of gastrointestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
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“C. diff. Spores and More,”™ Global Broadcasting Network – innovative and educational interactive healthcare talk radio program discusses
The Role of the Microbiome in Health and Disease: The Basics
With Our Guest
Dr. Matthew Henn, Senior Vice President, Head of Drug Discovery and Bioinformatics
Matthew Henn is the Senior Vice President and Head of Drug Discovery & Bioinformatics of Seres Therapeutics, Inc. He has more than 16 years of combined research experience in microbial ecology, genomics, and bioinformatics that spans both environmental and infectious disease applications.
Dr. Henn’s research has focused on the development, implementation, and application of genomic technologies in the area of microbial populations and their metabolic functions. Prior to joining Seres, he was the Director of Viral Genomics and Assistant Director of the Genome Sequencing Center for Infectious Diseases at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
Join us on Tuesday, July 19th as Dr. Henn provides the foundation educational information about the microbiome by answering the fundamental questions of what is it, why is it important, how does it impact patients with C. difficile infections, and what are the possibilities of the microbiome as a therapeutic target for future drugs. This interview will solely be with Dr. Matthew Henn, Senior Vice President and Head of Drug Discovery & Bioinformatics at Seres Therapeutics, Inc,.
Seres Therapeutics is a leading microbiome therapeutics company dedicated to creating a new class of medicines to treat diseases resulting from imbalances in the microbiome. These first-in-class drugs, called Ecobiotics®, are ecological compositions of beneficial organisms that are designed to restore a healthy human microbiome. The discovery efforts at Seres Therapeutics currently span metabolic, inflammatory, and infectious diseases.
“C. diff. Spores and More ™“ Global Broadcasting Network spotlights world renowned topic experts, research scientists, healthcare professionals, organization representatives,C. diff. survivors, board members, and C Diff Foundation volunteers who are all creating positive changes in the C. diff. community worldwide.
Through their interviews, the C Diff Foundation mission will connect, educate, and empower many worldwide.
Questions received through the show page portal will be reviewed and addressed by the show’s Medical Correspondent, Dr. Fred Zar, MD, FACP, Dr. Fred Zar is a Professor of Clinical Medicine, Vice Head for Education in the Department of Medicine, and Program Director of the Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Over the last two decades he has been a pioneer in the study of the treatment of Clostridium difficile disease and the need to stratify patients by disease severity.
Seres Therapeutics Inc. a leading microbiome therapeutics company, announced today that it has initiated a Phase 1b clinical trial evaluating SER-262 in patients with primary Clostridium difficile infection (CDI).
SER-262 is an Ecobiotic® rationally-designed, fermented microbiome therapeutic derived by a manufacturing process that does not require human donor material. SER-262 is the first synthetically-derived and designed microbiome therapeutic ever to reach clinical-stage development.
“We intend to continue to utilize our platform technology and unique knowledge of bioinformatics, microbiology, manufacturing and regulatory requirements to develop additional rationally designed microbiome therapeutics for serious diseases in each of our three therapeutic franchises: infectious disease, immunology and metabolic disease.”
SER-262, an oral capsule, contains a consortium of twelve bacterial strains in spore form. The strains included in SER-262 were selected based on multiple criteria including analysis of human microbiome data, efficacy in animal models of CDI, and bacterial strain level characterization.1 The composition of SER-262 was selected among Seres’ field-leading human microbiome library containing over 14,000 well-characterized strains of bacteria.
The SER-262 Phase 1b study, a 24-week randomized, placebo-controlled, dose escalation study is expected to enroll approximately 60 patients who have experienced a first episode of CDI. The primary endpoint of the study will compare the CDI recurrence rate between the SER-262 and placebo groups at up to 8 weeks after dosing.
Approximately 640,000 and 820,000 individuals in U.S. each year experience a primary occurrence of CDI,and about 25 percent will suffer from a subsequent recurrence.
“Advancing SER-262 to the clinic is a landmark event for Seres and the microbiome field in general. The SER-262 program has demonstrated our ability to rapidly develop a new class of synthetic microbiome therapeutics comprised of rationally designed bacterial compositions,” said Roger Pomerantz, M.D., President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Seres. “We intend to continue to utilize our platform technology and unique knowledge of bioinformatics, microbiology, manufacturing and regulatory requirements to develop additional rationally designed microbiome therapeutics for serious diseases in each of our three therapeutic franchises: infectious disease, immunology and metabolic disease.
With the initiation of the SER-262 Phase 1b study in primary CDI, and the ongoing SER-109 Phase 2 study in multiply recurrent CDI, Seres now has ongoing microbiome clinical programs across the entire CDI population. Initial study results from the SER-109 Phase 2 study are expected in mid-2016.
About Seres Therapeutics
Seres Therapeutics, Inc. is a leading microbiome therapeutics platform company developing a novel class of biological drugs that are designed to treat disease by restoring the function of a dysbiotic microbiome, where the natural state of bacterial diversity and function is imbalanced. Seres’ most advanced program, SER-109, has successfully completed a Phase 1b/2 study demonstrating a clinical benefit in patients with recurring Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) and is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2 study in recurring CDI.
The FDA has granted SER-109 Orphan Drug, as well as Breakthrough Therapy, designations. Seres’ second clinical candidate,
SER-287, is being evaluated in a Phase 1b study in patients with mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis (UC).
Pick a disease or disorder, and somebody, somewhere, has said that a probiotic supplement—an over-the-counter, unregulated pill usually filled with a single strain of friendly gut bacteria—might cure it, whether it’s cancer, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or a yeast infection.
But there’s very little evidence that probiotic supplements do any good. “There’s a lot of promise here but not a lot of proof yet,” said Cliff McDonald, associate director for science at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.
Half a million people a year are infected with C. diff in the U.S., the CDC estimates, with 29,000 annual deaths related to the diarrheic bacterium. More than 65 percent of C. diff infections involve exposure in a health-care facility, according to a 2015 study, creating more than $4.8 billion in excess health-care costs at acute-care facilities alone.
C. diff. Treatments On The Horizon:
To Learn More About ALL C. diff. Clinical Trials In Progress Click On The Following Link:
Seres Therapeutics, a microbiome-based biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Mass., is developing a pill, subject to a rigorous approval process under the Food and Drug Administration, to tackle recurrent Clostridium difficile. (The digestive system’s microbiome is the community of healthy gut bacteria that normally reside in the body.)
Seres aims to put the science behind a proven treatment of recurrent C. diff, fecal transplants, in a pill, which wouldn’t require a colonoscopy. Like probiotic supplements, it’s a gut bacteria product. Unlike the supplements, by the time it’s available it will have gone through the FDA wringer. It will contain about 50 strains of bacteria proven effective in treating C. diff and will require a doctor’s prescription.
Recurrent C. diff is an obvious entry point for Seres, said Chief Executive Officer Roger Pomerantz. “We asked, what is the lowest-hanging fruit?” But it’s hardly the end. The company has built a microbiome library of 14,000 strains of human bacteria it hopes will help it treat a range of diseases, eventually without needing feces at all. Seres has embarked on the research with some pretty lofty goals, including finding treatments for obesity, liver disease, and cancer. It has partnerships with Massachusetts General Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and other respected medical institutions. “We will figure out exactly what’s wrong with the microbiome, design a drug, and then pull the organisms out with our library, never touching a human donation,” Pomerantz said. Seres’s lead product candidate, SER-109, will treat recurrent C. diff with four capsules taken orally instead of with transplants. While fecal matter is the raw material for the pills, the final product consists only of the spores necessary to treat the infection, which will have been extracted and purified. SER-109 is expected to become the first oral microbiome therapy approved by the FDA, though Seres declined to predict exactly when it will arrive. Results from the latest trials are due by midyear, and Phase 3 trials are scheduled to follow later in the year. Seres hopes to follow up quickly with SER-287, a drug to treat ulcerative colitis, which could be the first microbiome drug to treat a chronic disease, and SER-262, to treat primary C. diff before it turns into the recurrent kind.
Other companies are racing to collect enough data for FDA approval, but right now Seres, which is publicly traded, looks to be the one to beat. “Seres is probably going to be the first one that’s going to knock at the FDA’s door,” said Mohan Iyer, chief business officer at Second Genome, a microbiome company studying how to treat disease with the compounds produced by gut bacteria instead of the gut bacteria themselves.
“SER-109 is poised to be first-in-class among fecal microbiota transplant-derived drugs,” Joseph Schwartz, an analyst at Leerink Partners, wrote in a May report. The report says the latest trial results “wowed the Street” but warns that the company could still be held back by “disappointing clinical data” and obstacles in the regulatory process.
Another top contender is Rebiotix. Its RBX2660 is also designed to treat recurrent C. diff but, unlike SER-109, is administered with an enema; an oral version is in development. The treatment also differs significantly from Seres’s in formulation, including thousands of kinds of microbes from the donor’s stool, compared with SER-109’s 50 or so, as many as could be preserved and some of which haven’t even been identified.
“We make sure we have a minimum concentration of certain kinds that we know the patients lack,” CEO Lee Jones said. “But we don’t identify all of them. There’s no way to do that.” A recent study estimated that 1014 bacteria are in the human gut, most of which have never been isolated. Jones said the drug could hit the market by 2018.
The medications have been shown to be similarly effective—with no C. diff-associated diarrhea for 29 of 30 of Seres’s patients and 27 of 31 of Rebiotix’s, in the companies’ latest results—and equally safe. Adverse reactions for both are limited to such problems as moderate diarrhea and abdominal cramping, which could be from the C. diff itself. Both have been designated as “breakthrough therapies” by the FDA, allowing for an expedited approval process, and both are likely soon to provide an at-home alternative to fecal transplants.
Point Of View:
“I don’t know who is going to make it across the line first,” said Gail Hecht, director of gastroenterology and nutrition at Loyola University Medical Center and chairwoman of the American Gastroenterological Association for Gut Microbiome Research & Education. Hecht has attended a Seres advisory board meeting but doesn’t have a financial interest in the company. “It is indeed a race,” she said.
Seres does have at least one distinct market advantage. “Patients have different preferences,” Hecht observes, but “in general, people don’t particularly like enemas.”
Human Fecal Transplants:
For nearly two thousand years, doctors have looked to this unlikeliest of places for medicine. One of the earliest documented applications is from the fourth-century Chinese medical doctor Ge Hong, whose “yellow soup” recipe to treat diarrhea included a healthy person’s dried or fermented feces. Sixteen hundred years later, in 1958, patients infected with C. diff received the first known human fecal transplants.
Stool Bank Information:
Today the effectiveness of fecal transplants (formally known as fecal microbiota transplants) to treat recurrent C. diff is supported by a long list of studies, with researchers attributing the results to the restoration of the microbiome. OpenBiome, a nonprofit stool bank, shipped 1,828 treatments in 2014, a number that ballooned to 7,140 treatments in 2015 and looks to be eclipsed this year, with 4,323 treatments shipped to its clinical partners through May 31. And these numbers don’t take into account the transplants performed through directed fecal donations.
INTERNATIONAL RAISING C. diff. AWARENESS CONFERENCE
HIGHLIGHTS — PROMISE & CHALLENGES IN C. diff. TREATMENT
Part 1: Novel Approaches and Therapies in Development
The Centers for Disease Control first recognized C. difficile infection (CDI) as an urgent threat to public health in September 2013. However, I first began to understand the impact on patients in 2008 when I was first diagnosed with Clostridium difficile (C. diff). My journeys, including many months of illness (nine recurrent CDI) which included a referral to hospice care before finally being correctly treated in 2009. Henceforth; I was no stranger to this diagnosis with over two decades of Nursing and witnessing the loss of my Father, whose life was claimed by C. difficile involvement in 2004.
C. diff. has left me with serious health complications. Though I returned to my career as a Nurse for a brief time, I was diagnosed with an entirely new C. diff infection in 2011– enduring nine recurrences through the following year. Another year taken away from C. diff..
Like many other patients, the physical, financial and emotional toll has been great – not only on me, but also on my family. Yet, through my journeys and what I have learned in the process has inspired me to help others affected by C. diff. and share with fellow healthcare professionals through educating and advocating for C. difficile infection prevention, treatments, and environmental safety worldwide.
I was proud to kick off the third annual International Raising C. diff Awareness Conference & Health EXPO in Cambridge, MA last fall. The Annual Conference is one of many important initiatives the C Diff Foundation undertakes to build awareness, advance advocacy and support research to address the public health threat posed by this devastating, life-threatening infection and common healthcare-associated infection.
Through the Conference– the C Diff Foundation offers perspective from world renowned experts on C. difficile infection prevention, treatment and research, with discussions ranging from pharmaceutical options to environmental safety products.
♦ Here are the highlights from our guest speakers ♦
Dr. Mary Beth Dorr, Director of Clinical Research, Infectious Diseases at Merck, presented the most recent data on the company’s C. diff antitoxin, bezlotoxumab. Nearest to potential FDA approval among new options for patients, bezlotoxumab would be used as an adjunct to standard antibiotic regimens for C. diff, with a goal of reducing recurrences—something for which no other drug has been approved.
Merck’s first trial, MODIFY 1 (Monoclonal Antibodies For C. DIFficile Therapy), included 1,412 patients globally. In addition to standard treatment of care, patients received a single intravenous infusion of either the antitoxin actoxumab (binds to the C. diff toxin A) or bezlotoxumab (binds to the C. diff toxin B) alone, or the two in combination, or a placebo.
This study called for a pre-specified interim analysis allowing for modifications in the trial after 40% of patients had completed a 12-week follow-up. As a result, actoxumab alone was dropped from further study as it did not provide added efficacy over bezlotoxumab alone or the combination of bezlotoxumab and actoxumab.
The MODIFY 2 trial evaluated an additional 1,163 patients who received standard antibiotic treatment for C. diff plus either bezlotoxumab alone, or the combination of bezlotoxumab and actoxumab, or placebo. The primary endpoint was prevention of a recurrence of C. diff infection at 12 weeks defined as a new episode of diarrhea and a positive stool test for toxigenic C. diff.
Many of the patients in the trial were quite ill: 17% had severe CDI, 18% had the more virulent PCR ribotype 027 strain, and about 20% were immunocompromised.
For the two studies overall, the rates of recurrent C. diff were significantly less in patients receiving bezlotoxumab alone than placebo (17% vs. 28%). Adverse events were no different in the treatment and placebo groups.
Because there was no benefit to the combination of the two antibodies, bezlotoxumab alone was selected for new drug applications submitted to the US FDA and European Medicines Agency seeking marketing approval.
Ecobiotics — A Novel Approach To Recurrent CDI’s
Fecal microbial therapy, also referred to as FMT or stool transplants, generated much discussion. However; this therapeutic approach aiming to change the gut microbiome, the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms in and on our bodies, is being studied in clinical trials by two of the presenters.
Dr. David Cook, PhD, Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Chief Scientific Officer, Seres Therapeutics, spoke about “ecobiotic therapeutic restoration.” He noted that a dysbiotic, or imbalanced microbiome, is increasingly linked to multiple diseases including C. difficile infection, inflammatory bowel disease, and metabolic diseases like diabetes mellitus. ECOSPOR ™ is their current Phase 2 clinical study focused on the safety and efficacy of SER-109, a drug for the potential prevention of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) in adults who have had three or more episode of CDI within the previous nine months.
In its Phase 2 study, Seres used spores from the Clostridiales group of organisms, treated to decrease the risk of any pathogen transmission. A small group of patients with > 3 prior CDIs were given two doses of a mixture of strains of spores by mouth and followed up for 8 weeks. In this study, 13 of 15 (87%) patients met the primary endpoint of no recurrent diarrhea associated with a positive test for C. diff.
Another study, using a slightly smaller dose of spores, had the same findings. Overall, 29 of 30 (97%) patients had clinical resolution of their diarrhea; the improvement persisted at 24 weeks. A slightly larger Phase 2 study is underway now and Phase 3 studies are planned for 2016. The drug has received breakthrough and orphan drug designations from the FDA. Seres’ drug also reduced carriage of or colonization by multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO), including Klebsiella, Providencia, and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), all of which are recognized by the CDC as urgent or emerging health threats.
RBX2660 — Therapeutic Microbiota Restoration
Dr. Lee Jones, Foundress and CEO of Rebiotix, presented ongoing studies with RBX2660. Their product, RBX2660, which also aims to restore a gut microbiome altered by CDI, has been designated a drug, rather than a tissue transplant, by the FDA and has received fast track, orphan drug, and breakthrough therapy designations. The liquid microbial suspension packaged for enema delivery is manufactured differently than fecal microbial transplants, and the end-product is standardized and ready for administration.
The initial Phase 2 study, PUNCH™, was open-label and included 30 patients with at least two recurrences of C. diff requiring hospitalization. With a 6-month follow-up period, this trial had an 87% efficacy rate and no recurrences. A second 120 patient randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial (PUNCH CD 2) is ongoing. Rebiotix is also developing an oral formulation and planning trials for other indications.
Approaches to vaccination were also discussed at the conference by the companies leading those research initiatives. Mucosal vaccination, to protect people from pathogens that enter or cause harm at the mucosal surface, or lining of our gastrointestinal or respiratory tracts, has been used in developing a variety of vaccines, including polio, typhoid, and experimental influenza vaccinations. Dr. Simon Cutting, PhD, Professor of Molecular Microbiology at
Royal Holloway, University of London, explained the rationale behind this approach and reviewed supporting animal data. If approved, this vaccine would be administered orally.
These studies are still in early development.
Dr. Patricia Pietrobon, Associate Vice President, Research and Development, C. diff Program Leader at Sanofi Pasteur, presented an update on the company’s vaccine, H-030-012, which relies on injection of an inactivated whole toxin to both C. diff toxins A and B. Sanofi’s vaccine showed immunogenicity in patients in Phase 2 studies, and was the first vaccine to be awarded fast track approval by the FDA. Their vaccine showed an antibody response and immunologic boost after a dose at 6 months, suggesting vaccination might confer long-term protection from C. diff. A 15,000 participant, 5-year, global trial is underway, hoping to provide long-term immunity to C. diff.
Several other approaches for C. diff prevention and treatment were presented:
The first, described by Dr. Klaus Gottleib, MD, FACG, Vice President, Clinical Development and Regulatory Affairs, Synthetic Biologics, involves use of a beta-lactamase enzyme given orally in combination with a patient receiving a beta-lactam (penicillin or cephalosporin) antibiotic. The antibiotics would still have full efficacy in the blood or soft tissue, but the company’s hypothesis is that the enzyme will destroy unneeded antibiotic in the gut and will prevent C. diff from developing by reducing alteration in the gut flora.
Their drug, SYN-004, is in Phase 2 trial development.
Dr. Martha Clokie, Ph.D. Leicester UK, Professor in Microbiology. Dr. Cloakie’s research focuses on phages that infect bacterial pathogens of medical relevance and is focusing on targeting C. diff without altering the rest of the microbiome in preclinical studies. Hoping to destroy C. diff with a biological warfare approach, she focuses on phages, tiny virus-like particles that infect bacteria.
Dr. Melanie Thompson, Ph.D. is studying an older drug used for rheumatoid arthritis, auranofin, in Australia. Auranofin targets the selenium metabolism of C. diff, and is likely to be fairly specific treatment against that bacterium.
Part 2 – Challenges in Testing and Infection Management
Among the key presentations, Dr. Mark Wilcox, MD, FRCPath, Head of Microbiology and Academic Lead of Pathology at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals, Professor of Medical Microbiology at the University of Leeds, lead on Clostridium difficile for Public Health England, and Chairman of the conference, addressed the challenges of diagnosing C. diff.. From knowing who to test, to which test to employ, the state of testing poses challenges in accurately determining the number of CDI cases and in comparing rates over time or between locations.
He raised important questions for the medical community to address:
Who should be tested?
Which tests should be used?
How do we measure accuracy between tests in order to compare infection rates over time and by location?
Dr. Wilcox showed data from the Euclid Study in Europe looking at approximately 4,000 stool samples submitted to participating hospital labs on a given day, whether or not a test for C. diff. was ordered. The data shows that about 25% of cases were missed by the hospitals, but were picked up by a centralized reference lab. On a single day, 246 patients (6.3%) received an incorrect result from their hospital. The translates to about 40,000 cases of CDI missed in Europe alone per year and underscoring that CDI is far more common, and commonly missed than appreciated, making it hard to grasp both the magnitude of the problem and the treat individual patients.
Barley Chironda, RPN, CIC, Manager of Infection Prevention and Medical Device Reprocessing at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada also addressed the topic of testing in acknowledging that some physicians may also be reluctant to order C. diff. tests both because the tests can be hard to interpret, and because there may be perceived disincentives for detecting and reporting the infection . Hospitals can be penalized financially for infections acquired in the hospital as well as receive lower quality of care ratings.
While there is confusion over how to test for C. diff. there is a general understanding as to what we must do to contain the epidemic — use fewer antibiotics. Currently, up to 85% of patients with C. difficile associated diarrhea (CDAD) have received antibiotics in the 28 days before their CDI occurred. More than 1/2 of all hospital patients receive an antibiotic, as do almost all surgical patients. Estimates are that 30 – 50% of antibiotic use is unnecessary or inappropriate.
As Dr. Hudson Garrett, Jr., PhD, MSN, MPH, FNP, CSRN, VA-BC, Vice President, Clinical Affairs, PDI, Nice-Pak, and Sani Professional, explained, education of both healthcare workers and patients is needed. Prescribers need to limit antibiotic use to the most specific or narrowest spectrum antibiotic they can, and patients need to learn that antibiotics are not helpful for colds or viral infections.
If use of broad-spectrum antibiotics in hospitals is reduced by 30%, the CDC has estimated there will be 26% fewer CDI’s. Garrett stressed the importance of good leadership and multidisciplinary approach to the success of an antibiotic stewardship program, emphasizing the need for engagement, education and involvement from the top administrators, physicians, pharmacists, and patients,
Another concern is the overuse of the class of antibiotics called quinolones. An especially toxic and severe strain of C. diff. NAP2/027/B1 has been emerging, seemingly driven by the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics. Quinolones are a widely prescribed class of antibiotics often used in treating pneumonia.
Limiting antibiotics and more appropriate use is not just for people — it is also important in agriculture. There is a growing concern that contaminated products — both meat and produce — may transmit resistant organisms to people and spread C. diff. outside healthcare facilities.
Controlling the spread of C. diff. is a challenge. While previously believed to be strictly a healthcare-associated infection, recent findings show that many patients acquire C. diff. in the community.
As part of his presentation, “Behind the Scenes; C. difficile Management in Health from the lens of an Infection Preventionist, ” Barley Chronda, also reviewed infection control issues, focusing on the importance of cleaning. He noted that 11% of occupants in a hospital room would acquire C. diff. if a prior patient had the infection.
The issues hospitals face include:
A lack of dedicated equipment which may allow for the spread of C. diff. spores on items like stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs;
Isolation for patients with diarrhea or incontinence with consideration for patient symptoms, hospital costs and appropriate patient care;
Lack of clarity re: responsibility for cleaning specific items, and what type of cleaning agent to use, as many products do not inactivate spores. Clorox ® and UV-C Xenon, a high-energy, full spectrum ™ pulsed Xenon Ultraviolet Light by Xenex — both sponsors of the Conference, were addressed as options for CDI and a variety of multi-drug resistant organisms.
Hand-washing (Hand Hygiene) as many hospitals lack conveniently placed sinks and rely on alcohol hand sanitize gels and solutions,. While alcohol is great for reducing most bacterial contamination, it is ineffective against C. diff. spores.
The Patient Journey Continues
Nancy Sheridan an Educator and Volunteer Patient Advocate, represented the voice of the many patients who face the challenges of being diagnosed, treated, and surviving a C. diff. infection and shared her experience with the audience. After developing diverticulitis complicated by a perforated colon following an overseas trip. Nancy was treated with antibiotics and developed diarrhea. Though doctors thought she might have a travel – related infection, she insisted on being tested for C. diff. and found C. diff. was causing her severe symptoms. She suffered recurrent C. diff. infections, forcing her to take a leave of absence from her job. In addition to the loss of income and mounting medical bills, she described feeling “defeated and broken.”
Desperate, housebound, in pain, and having a marked weight loss from her recurrent vomiting and bloody diarrhea, she asked for a fecal transplant. Despite multiple refusals, she persisted. Eight months after her ordeal began, Nancy received the stool transplant. She describes her recovery as “miraculous” and within a few weeks, she was back to her teaching and active life. Nancy concluded her story by reminding us that on any given day, 1 of 25 hospitalized patients becomes infected with C. diff. noting “the risk of contracting this deadly infection is too great to remain uninformed.”
That message – from Nancy Sheridan, from the professionals who support us, and the patients who we hear from each day on our U.S. national Hot-Line (1-844-FOR-CDIF) continue to drive us in educating, and advocating for C. diff. infection prevention, treatments, environmental safety, and providing support worldwide.
About The C Diff Foundation The C Diff Foundation is a leading non-profit organization founded in 2012 by Nancy Caralla, a Nurse who was diagnosed and treated for recurrent Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) infections. Through her own journey, and the loss of her father to C. difficile infection involvement, Nancy recognized the need for greater awareness through education about research being conducted by the government, industry and academia and better advocacy on behalf of patients, healthcare professionals and researchers worldwide working to address the public health threat posed by this devastating infection. Follow the C Diff Foundation on Twitter (@cdiffFoundation) or Facebook. For more information, visit: http://www.cdifffoundation.org/.