Could your poop be valuable?
A for-profit Massachusetts biotech company called Seres Therapeutics believes so.
The firm is developing a treatment for reducing recurrent Clostridium difficile infection that requires a lot of human excrement, according to a report by azcentral published last Thursday.
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Healthy adults 18 to 50 paid for their poop
"If you are a healthy adult 18 to 50 years old, you may be eligible to earn up to $1,500 a month in compensation to donate your poop (compensation may vary by city and is subject to change). Not only that, your participation could help lead to future developments in gastrointestinal infections and disorders that directly serve a patient population in need," says the company's website.
The initiative is called the GoodNature program and is looking for healthy individuals who have regular bowel movements, are normal weight, don’t smoke, are not pregnant, and have no history of gastrointestinal disease or alcohol or drug abuse.
Company representatives say they may already have 150 prospective donors which they recruited at the Aloha Fest in Tempe. These donors now have to go through several screenings to ensure that their microbiome contains the bacteria needed for the Seres therapeutic. The firm is looking for regular donors it can rely on.
What is Seres doing with the poop?
Seres tests the collected human stool and then uses it to engineer an oral microbiome medication to treat recurrent C. diff. It does this by using the healthy bacteria found in stool that can repopulate a patient's gut and prevent such infections from resurfacing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, C. diff is responsible for half a million illnesses in the U.S. each year, and nearly 30,000 deaths.
The firm is now looking for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval for its treatment. The process is reminiscent of another project started in 2019.
A company called Seed Health aimed to help researchers better understand what is going on with poop by creating a database of poop for artificial intelligence to train on. To do this, they requested volunteers send in pictures of their turds along with a little bit of information about their pooping cycle.
Meanwhile, in 2021, an initiative in South Korea saw students donate their excrement for digital currencies in order to power their university. Who would have thought that poop could be so popular and useful?