What is BiomeBank?

Enabled by The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF), BiomeBank is the first public stool bank in Australia, established to treat bowel disorders.

BiomeBank’s mission is to provide donor stool to treat patients with bowel conditions and foster research into faecal transplant as a treatment for conditions affecting the Australian community.

Stool donated by healthy donors will be processed and stored in the stool bank located at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research (BHI) in Woodville South Australia, before being distributed as a treatment to the wider community through local hospitals.

BiomeBank

The Impact

Pioneering BiomeBank are Gastroenterologists based at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Dr Sam Costello and Dr Rob Bryant. Dr Costello established the South Australian faecal transplant service for Clostridium difficile infection in 2013 and recently completed a successful trial of faecal transplant for Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr Bryant and Dr Costello from left
Dr Bryant and Dr Costello from left

Now with the support of THRF to establish and maintain the first public stool bank in Australia, Dr Costello and Dr Bryant are excited about offering this lifesaving therapy to patients with Clostridium difficile infection. They will also be utilising the stool bank to conduct research into the gut microbiome and the potential for faecal transplantation to treat other diseases.

BiomeBank will allow for clinical trials to be conducted in the use of faecal transplants as a treatment for bowel conditions. It will also help to investigate the role that our gut bacteria play in a wider range of conditions affecting everyday Australians with the ultimate aim of developing new bacterial therapies.

Sam-Costello

The Faecal Transplant

Faecal transplant involves instilling faeces collected from a healthy person into the bowel of a patient with disease with the aim of treating that disease. Healthy stool donors are crucial to this process and because of this thorough screening is undertaken before a donation occurs. Following donation, the stool is processed and then stored within the stool bank at the BHI. When the clinical need arises, the processed stool is transported to the treating hospital and the faecal transplant is given via a colonoscope into the patient’s large bowel.

The role of the faecal transplantation is to replenish the good bacteria within a patient’s gut.  These good bacteria are critical to the healthy functioning of the gut.

At present there is evidence that the two gut conditions of Clostridium difficile infection and Ulcerative Colitis can be treated with faecal transplantation, however research is underway into using transplantation to treat other diseases.

Clostridium Difficile Infection

Clostridium difficile is a spore-forming bacteria that can overgrow in the large bowel of patients when their own gut bacteria are depleted. This may occur after a person takes antibiotics. Whilst some patients may only experience mild symptoms with a Clostridium difficile infection, others can develop severe bowel inflammation that can result in death or toxic shock necessitating surgical removal of the large bowel.  A single faecal transplant can cure this severe infection in 90 per cent of cases.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of the large intestine (colon) with currently no known medical cure. The disease causes ulceration and inflammation of the lining of the colon and common symptoms include bloody diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Faecal transplant has been shown to reduce inflammation in up to one third of patients with ulcerative colitis in the short term, however more research is required to determine if the disease can be treated in the longer term with faecal transplantation.

The Research

Sam Costello Operating

The opportunities for life-changing research utilising BiomeBank are endless.

In addition to treating patients with Clostridium difficile infection and Ulcerative Colitis, the research team are collaborating with Dr Hannah Wardill and colleagues across South Australian hospitals on a study where patients having chemotherapy save their own stool prior to chemotherapy treatment for re-administration into the bowel after their treatment.

The team are working with Dr Lito Papanicolas and colleagues at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) and Flinders University on a study of faecal transplant as a treatment for patients with multi-drug resistant infections.

Finally, BiomeBank researchers will also be collaborating on a study with other Australian researchers to culture bacteria from the bowel of everyday Australians people to develop a deeper understanding of what bacteria are present in the gut of Australians.

How Can You Help?

 

Donate Money

If you would prefer to donate money over your stool, or even both, you can! By donating to BiomeBank you are helping to ensure the everyday running and maintenance of Australian’s only public stool bank. You will also be helping to fund research that will be utilising the bank to ultimately develop and improve therapies for gut conditions.

Donate Your Stool

Yes you read that right! If you live in South Australia, you can donate your healthy stool to help people living with these chronic and debilitating gut conditions. It’s pretty simple, get in touch with us and we’ll get you started. It won’t take long and you’ll be helping to change lives.

you can support the first and only public stool bank in Australia.