Scientists are celebrating the findings of a small clinical trial as groundbreaking when a single immunotherapy medicine caused every participant’s rectal cancer to disappear after six months. Rectal cancer is generally treated with chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. This experimental drug could change the field of cancer research.
Cancer, a dreadful disease that is feared for the sheer number of lives it claims, may soon be eradicated. A medication trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, New York, has proven 100 percent cancer eradication in patients for the first time.
Despite its tiny size, the experiment has raised expectations that cancer can be totally eradicated without the need for lengthy and painful chemotherapy or surgery. According to The New York Times, the medicine — dostarlimab — was given to 12 rectal cancer patients who appeared to have fully recovered because the disease could not be detected by physical examination, endoscopic, PET, or MRI scans.
According to the New York Times, the patients in the clinical research had previously undergone arduous therapies to eradicate their cancer, including chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive surgery, all of which could cause bowel, urinary, and even sexual problems. The 18 patients expected to have to go through them as the next step in the trial. However, they were surprised to learn that no more therapy was required.
The discoveries have caused a stir in the medical community. Dr. Alan P. Venook, a colon cancer specialist at the University of California, told the news organisation that complete remission in every single patient is “unheard-of.” He lauded the study as a first of its kind in the globe. He went on to say that it was especially impressive because not all of the patients experienced serious side effects from the trial medicine.
All of the participants had stage 2 or 3 rectal adenocarcinoma (the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes but hadn’t metastasized) with a specific mutation that is particularly sensitive to chemotherapy. They received nine cycles of the monoclonal antibody dostarlimab intravenously every three weeks for six months.
HOW THE DRUG WORKS
Dostarlimab was given to the patients every three weeks for six months. The medication was designed to unmask cancer cells, allowing the body’s immune system to naturally identify and destroy them.
The cancer researchers who reviewed the drug have now told the media outlet that the treatment appears promising, but that a larger-scale trial is needed to see if it will work for more patients and if the cancers are truly in remission.