A recent drug trial involving a small group of cancer patients had the unexpected outcome of eradicating the disease in all of the patients. This is the first time such results have been obtained from a drug trial.
“There were a lot of happy tears,” the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a co-author of the paper, oncologist Dr Andrea Cercek, described the moment patients found out they were cancer-free to New York Times.
As per the report published in Live Mint, the 18 patients who had been diagnosed with rectal cancer and had various treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and, most likely, life-altering surgery that could cause bowel, urinary, and sexual dysfunction. Some of the patients had to use colostomy bags.
Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine on Sunday. According to the study, all patients with rectal cancer went into complete remission.
Quoting the study, Live Mint reported, that cancer was obliterated in every patient, undetectable through physical examination, PET Scan, MRI, or Endoscopy.
As per the report, for about six months, the 18 patients took a medication called Dostarlimab. Dostarlimab is a medication that contains laboratory-made molecules that act as replacement antibodies in the human body. Patients in the study were given Dostarlimab every three weeks for six months. Cancer cells are unmasked by the medication, allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them. None of the patients experienced clinically significant problems, according to Dr. Venook.
According to reports, one out of every five patients has an adverse reaction to checkpoint inhibitors like the one the patients took, Dostarlimab. The individuals had similar stages of cancer: the cancer had not spread to other organs but had only locally advanced in the rectum.
To the patients’ amazement, after the medication trial was completed, no more therapy was required, contrary to their expectations.
The drug’s reviewers, as per the report, now tell the media outlet that the treatment is promising, but that a larger-scale trial is needed to assess if it would work for more patients and if the cancers are actually in remission.