December 2022 Newsletter

December 8, 2022
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Growing Hope 2022

We are thrilled to announce we raised over $125,000 at our fall event Growing Hope.  Thank you to all of our attendees, corporate sponsors, and community partners for your support. We are making huge strides in advancing medical research and patient care through microbial therapy. These achievements would not be possible without your support!
Our outstanding event speakers joined us from around the county, you can view the full program and individual speaker clips online at

Dr. Alexander Khoruts, Director of the Microbiota Therapeutics Program. “We are, in the middle of a major paradigm shift in medicine, some call it a revolution. We’ve discovered what some call a new organ, it’s called the gut microbiota. It turns out that our own gut microbes are integral to human physiology and may underly the cause of many of the modern diseases. As we have introduced antibiotics in medicine, and have processed our food supply, that can actually starve the gut microbes when it’s overprocessed. So, the focus of our program has been development and manufacturing of microbe-based therapeutics to repair the damage to the gut microbes that often is caused by medicine itself.”

Peter Westerhaus, ACT Founder. “I had and still have a dream. A dream of healing and hope. In a short time, this dream has become bigger than I could have imagined just six years ago. This dream is expanding to provide hope and healing to more illnesses and an ever-increasing circle of people around the world. And we’re just getting started.”

Christie Lansdowne, ACT Executive Director. “In Minnesota, Dr. Khoruts has treated over 1,000 recurrent C. difficile patients personally. We have also provided treatments for over 3,700 C. difficile patients to our partner providers since 2019. We are at a stage in microbiota research where we are seeing clinical trials expand exponentially from 6 years ago at ACT’s inception, treating 1 condition, to now supporting clinical trials targeting 14 separate conditions. To date, we have supplied over 16,000 microbiota capsules to clinical trials around the nation.”

Dr. James Adams, Co-Investigator of Autism and Pitt Hopkins Disease clinical trials at Arizona State University. This could be the first FDA approved treatment for the core Autism symptoms. At the start of the study, 85% of [the enrolled] kids were diagnosed with severe autism. At the end [of the study], less than 20% [had] severe autism, 40% [were evaluated at] mild to moderate Autism, and 45% [of enrolled kids were] below the cutoff for autism. We had no idea we would see that level of improvement. Now, there is some placebo effect, this is an open label study, that’s why we’re now doing randomized double-blind placebo-controlled studies. So, the bottom line is that microbiota transplant seems to be a very promising treatment for treating these core GI problems and getting rid of these bad bacteria that apparently are releasing some nasty toxins that affect gut but also affect brain function. We now have fast track approval from the FDA. We are now running our Phase 2 studies which are very successful.”

Matt Steiner, Ulcerative Colitis Clinical Trial Patient. “I was patient number 01 in the program, to my great surprise after three days of taking FMT capsules, I literally felt my gut come back to life. In less than a week I went from hating to eat because of the pain, to craving hamburgers and burritos and other foods I hadn't enjoyed in years. Since that time, I have had no pain, no blood in my stool, and all of my symptoms have gradually improved. I have done three 8-week treatments of FMT. The last time I took the capsules was about this time last year.  I’ve not taken heavy steroids since starting the treatment and this is the best that I’ve felt since my disease first started and I have hope that I’m going to get to 100% remission.

Jon Westerhaus, ACT Board Member. “There is no other place in the world that is doing microbial therapeutics through an academic institution, supporting incredible research across the United States, and you are part of that.”

Brendan Halleron, Emcee. “Your donations are the water of our organization, without them we wither and die, with them we continue to grow. We will continue to be good stewards of the resources that you have bestowed upon us. We aren’t supported by big pharma, we are a group of individuals driven by a desire to make an impact. We appreciate the opportunity to use your water. We are Achieving Cures right now.”

Twin Cities Marathon 2022

ACT’s 2022 Twin Cities Marathon Race Team hit the trails on Sunday, October 2nd. Twenty-two runners trained this summer and raced for cures this fall in the TC marathon and 10-mile races. Our race team raised just over $16,775 towards microbiota research and treatments and is so close to meeting their $17,500 goal. You can still support our ACT race team and help them reach their goal by donating at:

Runner Highlight: Peter Berno

The choice to run on the race team for Achieving Cures Together sprang from a moment of good fortune. While registering for the 2022 Twin Cities Marathon, the final step in the sign-up flow asks, "Would you like to receive information about one of our charity partners?" followed by a drop-down menu with a few dozen partner charities. I quickly screened the names for key words, having one particular cause in mind. In 2021 I was hospitalized with Ulcerative Colitis and diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. In just two weeks I had lost 30 pounds, and making it up and down the stairs of my walk-up apartment required about the same amount of effort as the marathon I had run once upon a time. Luckily, I responded to traditional treatments rather quickly and was out of the hospital within a week and soon after saw remission. I was determined to get back in shape, but sad to find myself totally wiped out by one lap jog/walking around the block. That was the moment I set a goal to run another marathon and prove to myself what my body could still be capable of. Which brought me to the final steps of the registration process for my home town marathon.Choosing to run a marathon is a bit crazy, so having a higher purpose to keep in mind while the weeks of training turn into months helps a lot. It helps even more when the mission of the organization feels as close to home as ACT's does. Not all Ulcerative Colitis and IBD patients get so lucky with traditional treatments, and the number of people affected by these conditions only seems to be growing due to a variety of hard to control factors in our world today. It feels great to be a part of a fundraising effort for research that has such monumental potential and could improve a huge number of lives. In fact, it feels as good as running a marathon feels hard!

2022 Robert E. Wilkens Award Winner: Carolyn Graiziger

Robert E. Wilkens was a dedicated advisor and supporter of ACT who recognized tremendous potential of microbial restoration as a medical therapeutic. A year after his passing in 2017, ACT established the Robert E. Wilkens award in his legacy to recognize exceptional members of our community making an outstanding impact in microbiota research and treatment.Achieving Cures Together is honored to present the 2022 Robert E. Wilkens Award to Carolyn Graiziger. Carolyn is a dedicated Clinical Research Associate at the University of Minnesota Microbiota Therapeutics Program. Her compassionate approach to patient care goes above and beyond traditional patient experiences. Even short car rides are difficult for many of our recurrent C. difficile patients due to the severity of their illness. Carolyn personally delivers therapeutics to local C. difficile patient homes, walks through recommended post Intestinal Microbiota Transplant diet, and assists patients in uncovering potential areas of re-infection in to prevent relapse. Thank you, Carolyn, for your endless support to patients in their C. difficile recovery!

Give Hope & Health this Holiday Season

See where our microbial therapeutics are making an impact in patient lives.  C. difficile partner providers are marked in yellow, Clinical Trial locations are marked in red and Single Study patient locations are marked in green.

Through your support, ACT is providing clinical trials targeting 14 separate conditions with microbial therapeutics. Researchers are investigating Autism, Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease, Advanced Liver Disease, Pitt Hopkins Disease, recurrent C. difficile Infections, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Congestive Heart Failure and more. Read more about our current research projects at work is only possible through your partnership. As you make plans for year-end giving, please consider supporting Achieving Cures Together. You can donate online at, via mail or reach out to us at to make a gift of stocks, bonds or mutual funds. Thank you!


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