Leveraging Finch’s machine learning expertise in C. diff. and beyond

October 19, 2018 (Excerpt from Neo.Life):

“Today, more and more clinical studies suggest that FMTs, and the microorganisms they deliver, may be useful in a wide range of conditions beyond C. diff — even ones seemingly unrelated to the digestive system, like autism. And a tidal wave of basic research in both mice and humans has revealed that our gut microbes generally may play an important and largely overlooked role in our health.

‘We think the microbiome is really fundamental to many aspects of who we are, how our immune systems function, how we regulate our metabolism and how we think and feel,’ says Smith, who predicts ‘broad potential across a number of therapeutic areas.’

For example, Smith’s company — with about 150 employees, a pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing facility, and access to patient data — is now recruiting recurrent C. diff patients for a clinical trial of a pill that contains the whole microbial community found in human feces. The trial will test its efficacy against a placebo, and also include stool sample testing to ensure the treatment microbes actually colonize the patients’ intestine (something simpler probiotics bought at the supermarket generally don’t do).

Smith, who has watched the field develop, is amazed by how powerful the microbiome seems to be. He thinks the opportunity to someday help cancer patients is one of the biggest potential markets, as early studies have shown that microbes in the gut may help stimulate the body’s immune system response to tumors.

‘When I was a kid, my aunt had a battle with cancer three times. I thought that’s the pinnacle of working in healthcare, if you can do something about cancer,’ he says. ‘I never thought we’d be doing that in the microbiome [field].’”

Read the full article here