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Article Collection: Microbiota Therapy: Ready for Clinical Application?

Two factors have initiated a huge increase in microbiota research in the last 10 years: the ability to characterize the composition of the human intestinal microbiota and the finding that fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) was able to cure patients with relapsing Clostridioides difficile colitis. Changes in microbiota composition were found in patients with various diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, graft versus host disease, metabolic diseases, coronary heart disease, depression, autism, rheumatoid arthritis and various cancers.

To date, around 10,000 manuscripts have been published on the topic “fecal microbiota therapy” in the last 10 years. Therefore, it is very timely to ask whether microbiota therapy is now “ready for clinical practice” as we do it in this Collection of articles published in Visceral Medicine. Experts from different fields explore this question from different angles.

The progress that has been made in this research field in the last years is impressive. However, currently FMT is ready for clinical practice only in refractory C. diff. colitis. In other therapeutic fields, we will need more trials, more studies, more data, and further efforts to translate the important findings discovered so far into clinical practice.

We think that the overview provided in this Article collection is very helpful to define targets of further research and to make clear where the deficits are so far. There is no doubt that we will see microbiota therapy as a new therapeutic option for a number of diseases in the future.

This article collection was edited by Gerhard Rogler and Michael Scharl (University Hospital Zurich, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Zurich, Switzerland) and published in Visceral Medicine.

Conflict of Interest statement: Gerhard Rogler is co-founder and head of the scientific advisory committee of PharmaBiome, a microbiota therapy company, and Speaker and Advisor for Ferring. Michael Scharl has shares and is co-founder of Recolony AG and has shares in PharmaBiome AG, two microbiome therapy companies.

Image: Sebastian Kaulitzki –
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