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HomeWorld NewsEvery patient in this experimental drug trial saw their cancer disappear, researchers...

Every patient in this experimental drug trial saw their cancer disappear, researchers say

In a world where cancer is the number one leading cause of death worldwide, the future looks grim to many. However, a combination of hope and progress seems to add light to the end of a tunnel that would otherwise be a dark future. 

 According to a small clinical trial performed by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, every rectal cancer patient out of fourteen patients who got an experimental immunotherapy treatment went into remission. All of the participants who partook in this study were diagnosed with rectal cancer one day and, after taking the experimental drug, were told they were in remission. The not only remarkable but progressive study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

During the trial, each participant was given six months of treatment with an immunotherapy drug called dostarlimab from the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which helped fund the remarkable research. Researchers said the participants’ cancers were undetectable in physical exams, endoscopies, and MRIs. While inspecting the patients for cancer, they noticed that it had miraculously vanished in not one, not two, but every patient. 

The Times reports that the treatment costs about $11,000 per dose. It was administered to each patient every three weeks for six months. It works by exposing cancer cells so the immune system can adequately identify and destroy them.

The patients continued to show no signs of cancer after six months or more of follow-up. Without the need for standard treatments such as surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, cancer has not returned in any of the patients, who have now been cancer-free for six to 25 months after the trial ended. Another surprise from the study was that none of the patients suffered severe side effects.

The concept of immunotherapy, where you use medications to combat your immune system to fight off cancer, is neither new nor foreign to cancer treatments. However, what is so significant about this study is that the immunotherapy treatment shrinks the tumors, making for easier removal, but it also makes cancer disappear entirely. This is a game-changer because patients will no longer require radiation treatment, cutting out a long list of adverse side effects, significantly enhancing each patient’s quality of life, if not curing them completely.

Researchers agree the trial needs to be replicated in a much more extensive study, noting that the small research of fourteen focused only on patients who had a ‘rare genetic signature in their tumors,’ But agree that seeing complete remission in 100% of patients tested is an excellent early sign. The subsequent trial will include approximately 30 patients, hopefully giving a better scope of how safe and effective dostarlimab is in this group.



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