Every patient was cured of cancer
8:30:32 2022-06-10 65

Explained: What is the historic drug trial in which every patient was cured of cancer?

A small group of 18 people with rectal cancer was part of a clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan for a drug called Dostarlimab for around six months. In the end, every patient's tumours had disappeared.

In a first in history, a recent drug trial on a handful of cancer patients resulted in eliminating the disease in every participant involved.

According to the New York Times, a small group of 18 people with rectal cancer was part of a very small clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan for a drug called Dostarlimab for around six months. In the end, every one of them saw their tumours disappear.

“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, as per the New York Times report.

The 18 rectal cancer patients had earlier undergone all kinds of treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation and, even life-altering surgery that could result in bowel, urinary and sexual dysfunction.

The findings of the experiment were published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The paper described that all the patients of rectal cancer experienced complete remission.

The study, sponsored by the drug company GlaxoSmithKline, found that cancer was eliminated in every patient and was undetectable through physical examination, PET Scan, MRI, or Endoscopy.

The trial involved a drug called Dostarlimab. All the patients were administered Dostarilimab for around six months.

Dostarlimab is a drug with laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies in the human body. For the trial, patients took Dostarlimab every three weeks for six months. The drug unmasks cancer cells, allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them.

According to the New York Post, in addition to not needing further treatment to eradicate the disease, there were no instances of a recurrence of cancer in the patients during follow-up appointments from 6 to 25 months after the trial ended.

“Very little is known about the duration of time needed to find out whether a clinical complete response to dostarlimab equates to cure,” Dr. Sanoff wrote in an editorial accompanying the paper, The Times noted.

Even though the treatment is looking promising, a larger-scale trial is needed to see if it will work for more patients and if the cancers are truly in remission.


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