- Fecal transplants, which are made up of poop and microbes, could be used to tackle melanoma.
- The procedure involves transplanting healthy poop into the gut of a skin cancer patient.
- A study suggests that these transplants could help patients respond better to immunotherapy.
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Fecal transplants are being touted as a promising new treatment for patients with a serious form of skin cancer, according to research seen by The Guardian.
The transplants, which are made up of poop and microbes, could be used to help those suffering due to melanoma.
The procedure would involve transplanting stool from a healthy donor into the gut of a melanoma patient, the paper said.
This, in turn, may help the patient respond better to immunotherapy, the research suggests.
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Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, frequently requires different types of immunotherapy for treatment.
There are signs from this study that suggest that the chances of successful immunotherapy treatment might be boosted by fecal transplants.
In the study, healthy stool was taken from seven people who had responded positively to the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab. The stool was then transplanted into the guts of 15 melanoma patients.
After receiving the transplant, the patients were prescribed pembrolizumab every three weeks. They were then monitored over a period of a year, reported The Guardian.
The research showed that six of the patients responded positively to the drugs, with three of them seeing a large decrease or total eradication of the skin cancer.
Among all of the patients, there were promising signs of an increased survival time. The median survival time was boosted from seven months to 14 months, the paper said.
While the results offer hope for treating melanoma patients, the study was only conducted on a small number of patients.
The authors of the study told The Guardian that they hope to carry out the trials on a large group of melanoma patients and to test the impact of fecal transplants on other cancers.
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