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Prephage - Faecal Bacteriophage Transfer for Enhanced Gastrointestinal Tract Maturation in Preterm Infants - Donor Study

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT05272566
Recruitment Status : Active, not recruiting
First Posted : March 9, 2022
Last Update Posted : October 19, 2023
Lise Aunsholt, Neonatologist, Clinical Professor
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Gustav Riemer Jakobsen, Rigshospitalet, Denmark

Brief Summary:

PrePhage - Fecal bacteriophage transfer for enhanced gastrointestinal tract maturation in preterm infants

This pilot triol has the primary goal of demonstrating the safety of transferring viruses and proteins from healthy term infants to preterm infants born between gestational age (GA) 26 + 0 and 30+6. The long-term goal is to develop a safe and effective treatment to prevent the severe gut disease called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

NEC is a common disease in neonatal intensive care units affecting 5-10% of all admitted patients. 15-30% of the affected children die from the disease, and many of the survivors suffer from the effects of extensive gut surgery.

While the disease is caused by many different factors, recent research has shown the gut microbiome to be a central factor in the development of NEC. Furthermore, in the recent years special viruses called bacteriophages have shown potential in the treatment of various diseases.

By collecting feces from healthy, term infants and filtering it thoroughly, the investigators can provide a treatment that contains practically only viruses, proteins and nutrients. It is our belief that giving the preterm infants a mix of viruses including bacteriophages will prevent NEC.

To do this, the investigators will go through 3 stages:

Recruiting and following healthy donor infants to study the microbiota and use feces from them to donate in stage 2 and 3 Examining the safety of the treatment as well as how it works in preterm piglets

STAGE 3 will be performed only if stage 2 shows no serious risks for the infants

Testing the treatment in preterm infants. 10 preterm infants will receive the treatment and 10 preterm infants will receive placebo. The investigators expect to see no serious side effects to the treatment. The investigators hope, but do not expect to be able to see a beneficial effect of the treatment.

If this pilot trial shows promising results, it will be followed be a larger clinical trial.

Condition or disease
Feeding Patterns Microbial Colonization

Detailed Description:

Detailed Description:

PrePhage - Fecal bacteriophage transfer for enhanced gastrointestinal tract maturation in preterm infants

This pilot trial aims to investigate if fecal filtrate transfers (FFT) to preterm infants is safe and tolerable. To investigate this, the investigators will recruit 20 donor infants and their mothers from time of delivery, and both will be subjected to a novel screening program including blood, urine, breastmilk, fecal screening and standard clinical investigation. Donor fecal samples will be collected from time of birth and with varying intervals for consecutive 3 years for 3 purposes: 1) to conduct safety studies in preterm piglets before transfer to preterm recipient infants, 2) to conduct FFT to preterm infants, and 3) to map normal microbiota development in healthy infants. The feces used for donation will be collected between 2-4 weeks after birth. After 1 year, donated feces will be released for FFT to preterm, but only if the donor infant at this time has been healthy and normally developed. Donors are followed up for consecutive 3 years after birth. Maternal fecal samples will be compared to infant samples, to investigate maternal to infant transfer of microbiota, as well as changes in infant microbiota in response to environment.

20 preterm infants with gestational age between 26 +0 - 30+6 weeks + days, are block randomized to either FFT or saline placebo within 24 hours after birth and the following 3 days, in total 4 donations. The recipients are clinically and biochemically closely monitored by attending staff and the group of investigators according to best clinical practice and predefined clinical observation. The recipients are followed up for consecutive 3 years to evaluate potential late side-effects and to monitor change in fecal microbiome after transplant or placebo.

The primary endpoint is to assess safety of FFT to preterm infants with expected no increase in necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), sepsis and death in the intervention group. The secondary endpoint is to assess if, FFT treatment will reduce incidence of feeding tolerance and improve healthy gut development in recipient preterm infants. The investigators expect to find FFT safe and with fewer cases of NEC and sepsis. The investigators do not expect to prove the effect of the intervention in this study. However, the investigators aim to follow up with a double-blinded multicenter randomized control trial - powered to document our hypothesis - that when colonizing with a healthy microbiome, it is possible decrease incidence of NEC in premature infants.

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Study Type : Observational
Actual Enrollment : 38 participants
Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Prephage - Faecal Bacteriophage Transfer for Enhanced Gastrointestinal Tract Maturation in Preterm Infants - Donor Study
Actual Study Start Date : April 1, 2022
Estimated Primary Completion Date : March 1, 2024
Estimated Study Completion Date : May 1, 2024

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine


30 healthy, term infants are recruited for 2 purposes:

  1. To study the development of gut bacteria and viruses over time
  2. To use as donors in a separate trial

30 healthy pregnant women are recruited along with their infants

  1. To compare gut bacteria and viruses with those of their children
  2. To screen for disease transferrable by breastfeeding

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Gut microbiome [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Total genomic DNA will be subjected to deep metagenome sequencing and related to the study outcomes. When extracting faecal DNA as well as viral DNA/RNA, physical fractionation or selective lysis will be employed to ensure host DNA is kept to a minimum. Remaining host DNA material will be removed during bioinformatics filtering and mapping of the shotgun metagenomics data.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Clinical development [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Clinical evaluation by pediatric doctor, outcome is dichotomous in terms of following normal development or not according to clinical evaluation

  2. Weight [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    weight in kilograms

  3. Length [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Length in centimeters

  4. Time to establish breastfeeding [ Time Frame: 2 weeks ]
    Days from birth till sufficiently breastfeeding

  5. Length of hospital stay after birth [ Time Frame: 1 month ]
    Length of hospital stay after birth

  6. Days to regain birthweight [ Time Frame: 1 month ]
    Time after birth to regain birthweight

  7. Stool characteristics - Amount [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Score from 1-4 using Amsterdam Stool Scale

  8. Stool characteristics - Consistency [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Score from 1-6 using Diapered Infant Stool Scale

  9. Stool characteristics - Color [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Score from 1-6 using Amsterdam Stool Scale

  10. Defacation frequency [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Amount af defacations per week

  11. Full solid food [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Age at which infant is no longer breastfed

  12. Frequency of infections [ Time Frame: 1 year ]
    Infections per year

Biospecimen Retention:   Samples With DNA
Fecal Samples from both mothers and infants, only non-human DNA/RNA analyzed

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Older Adult
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Sampling Method:   Non-Probability Sample
Study Population
Families are recruited from out-patients clinics at the secondary level in Copenhagen

Inclusion criteria for infants

  • The donor must be of term (>37+0 weeks GA, < 41+0 weeks GA),
  • Be born vaginally with no maternal pre-birth infection,
  • Be exclusively breastfed un till fulfilled donation at 4 weeks of age,
  • Have no known predisposition for disease.

Exclusion criteria for infants

  • Antibiotic exposure before collection of faecal material for donation,
  • Disease between time of birth and collection of feces for donation,
  • Major congenital anomalies or birth defects, perinatal asphyxia, need for mechanical ventilation or cardiovascular support before time of inclusion.
  • Positive stool sample for C. difficile toxin, parasites or other pathogens
  • Positive HIV, HBV, or HCV or CMV
  • Parents who do not want to know the HIV, HBV or HCV status of the child

Inclusion criteria for mothers

  • Women aged 18-45 and currently healthy
  • No continuous medical consumption with effects on microbiome
  • Non-smoking
  • Ability to give informed consent

Exclusion criteria for mothers

  • Known or high risk of infectious disease such as HIV, HBV, or HCV
  • Positive CMV IgM during pregnancy
  • Positive stool sample for C. difficile toxin, parasites or other pathogens
  • Systemic antibiotic treatment < 1 months prior to study
  • New tattoo < 1 month prior to study
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Family history of inflammatory bowel disease

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT05272566

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Gustav R Jakobsen
Copenhagen, Denmark, 2100
Sponsors and Collaborators
Rigshospitalet, Denmark
Lise Aunsholt, Neonatologist, Clinical Professor
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Principal Investigator: Lise Aunsholt, md, phd Rigshospitalet, Denmark
  Study Documents (Full-Text)

Documents provided by Gustav Riemer Jakobsen, Rigshospitalet, Denmark:
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Responsible Party: Gustav Riemer Jakobsen, Medical Doctor, Ph.d-student, Rigshospitalet, Denmark Identifier: NCT05272566    
Other Study ID Numbers: PrePhage, Donor
First Posted: March 9, 2022    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: October 19, 2023
Last Verified: October 2023
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: Undecided
Plan Description: Truly anonymizing data with infants recently born in a small society such as Denmark is challening. The data may be released at a later date.

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: No
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Keywords provided by Gustav Riemer Jakobsen, Rigshospitalet, Denmark:
Feeding Pattern
Stool Pattern
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Communicable Diseases
Disease Attributes
Pathologic Processes