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Faeces extracts investigated as new type 2 diabetes treatment

By Editor
25th January 2019

Extracting faeces from healthy people and injecting it into those with type 2 diabetes is being investigated as part of a new treatment for the condition. 

Researchers from Wales are recruiting 30 volunteers so they can harvest microscopic organisms from healthy volunteer’s faeces and transplant it into the bowels of obese people with type 2 diabetes.

The trial is based on findings discovered from a similar study carried out in the Netherlands in 2015, which showed the composition of organisms in people’s bowels led to an improvement in diabetes control.


The study, being led by Professor Dean Harris, a consultant colorectal surgeon at Singleton Hospital, said:  “It found that changing the organisms that live in people’s gut was associated with an improvement in diabetes control. We were very keen to look at this ourselves in Wales and see if we could improve upon that study in a bigger number of patients.”

The clinical trial is open to people aged between 18 and 70 who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the last two years and also have a  Body Mass Index of between 30 and 40.

Professor Harris added: “We will be taking samples from their faeces to study all the organisms that live within it, because we know that these conditions are associated with alterations in certain bacteria that we can then target. We’re also recruiting healthy volunteers from Swansea University to donate their organisms from their faeces and from their gut.

“We will then introduce the healthy bacteria from a healthy donor into a patient who has an imbalance of gut organisms, with a view to durably changing the profile of gut organisms. This can then be associated with health improvements.

“We know in patients with diabetes and obesity that their gut organisms are over-efficient in extracting energy from their food, so you have a greater number of calories absorbed from a given meal than somebody who doesn’t have those conditions.

“If we can change the bacteria and organisms in the gut, they won’t absorb so much energy and, therefore, we’re hoping weight loss can be seen and also tighter control of diabetes can be seen. It may even be possible that people who have just been started on diabetic medication can come off their tablets.”

Photo credit: Michael Jasmund

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