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Stool transplants help skin cancer patients respond to immunotherapy


Key points from article :

Faecal transplants could help patients with melanoma respond to immunotherapy.

Only 30-50% of melanoma patients given immunotherapy respond to it.

“...the microbes that inhabit our gut mediate some measure of response,” - Diwakar Davar, study co-author.

Took stool from seven individuals who had previously shown response to pembrolizumab for melanoma.

Screened before transferring it to patients with melanoma.

Patients were given pembrolizumab, repeated every three weeks.

Among 15 patients, six showed benefits, with three showing a large reduction or complete eradication of the cancer.

Median survival time for patients who respond to pembrolizumab was 14 months.

Developed a community of gut microbes similar to those of the donor stool.

Drop in cells and proteins that suppress the body’s immune response to cancer.

"The next step was to carry out trials with larger groups of patients and other cancers," - Davar.

Replacing faecal transplants with a pill containing the necessary collection of microbes.

Poop to pill: fecal transplants restore healthy gut microbes boosting immunity to fight cancer

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Diwakar Davar

Translational oncologist and Assistant professor of medicine at UPMC


Peer-reviewed academic online journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

University of Pittsburgh

Public state-related research university