Trevor Lawley from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute explains how he’ll be identifying the good bacteria in faeces that can cure patients with persistent Clostridium difficile infection in the third of a mini-series of posts from recipients of MRC Centenary Awards.
History is littered with examples of people deliberately infecting themselves in the name of science. Volunteers have been known to drink norovirus-infected water to see how long the virus can survive. A Russian researcher reportedly identified Hepatitis E by making himself a meal of yoghurt mixed with the stool of six ill soldiers. And the Australian researcher Barry Marshall won a Nobel prize for his work showing that the bacteria Helicobacter pylori caused stomach ulcers after drinking a petri dish of the cultured bacteria.
But what about infecting yourself with one microbe to treat another? My research focuses on the bacterium Clostridium difficile and I’m hoping that we can infect patients with ‘good’ bacteria to treat it. Read more