Test cancer medicine showed that all 12 patients with rectal cancer were completely cured.
Each patient cancer rectal cancer in a small clinical trial conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York (USA) saw their cancer in remission after being treated with experimental immunotherapy. The results were published by the researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 5.
One of the trial participants, Sascha Roth, told the New York Times that she was preparing to travel to Manhattan for weeks for radiation treatment when she received results from Memorial Sloan Kettering that she was cancer-free. “I told my family. They don’t believe me,” Roth said.
The same goes for the other patients participating in the trial, the cancer seemed to have disappeared in everyone and could not be detected by physical examination, endoscopy, positron emission tomography (CT). PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
One of the authors of the paper detailing the trial – Dr. Louis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – told the New York Times that he knows of no other studies that show a cure for cancer in all patients.
“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer.” – Dr. Louis A. Diaz Jr. speak.
All patients participating in the trial had rectal cancer locally advanced – meaning tumors that have spread in the rectum and sometimes to the lymph nodes but not to other organs – as well as tumors with a rare genetic mutation called repair deficiency nonconforming (MMRd).
They were treated for six months with an immunotherapy drug called Dostarlimab from GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical company that funded the study. Dostarlimab costs about $11,000 a dose and is given to patients every three weeks for six months.
As CBS News medical contributor David Agus explains, the drug works by unmasking cancer cells so the immune system can identify and destroy them. The new treatment, he says, is a type of immunotherapy – a treatment that blocks the “don’t eat me” signal on cancer cells, allowing the immune system to eliminate them.
The trial patients continued to be cancer-free even after six months or more of follow-up, meaning they no longer needed standard cancer treatments such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. According to the report, the cancer did not recur in any of the patients, who were now cancer-free for six to 25 months after the trial ended.
None of the patients suffered any serious side effects from the drug, unlike what might happen if they undergo surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, permanent effects on fertility. sexual health as well as bowel and bladder function.
Encouraged by the trial’s success, the researchers agreed that the trial should be replicated in a much larger study. The small study, the researchers note, only focused on patients with a rare genetic marker in the tumor. However, the 100% remission rate in these patients is a very promising early sign.
The next trial is expected to include about 30 patients, which will provide a better picture of how safe and effective the new drug is.