After an experimental treatment, a small number of persons with rectal cancer witnessed something of a miracle when their disease simply vanished. According to The New York Times, 18 patients in a small clinical trial who were given the medicine Dostarlimb for six months had their tumours disappear at the end of the treatment.
This was "the first time this has happened in the history of cancer," according to Dr. Luis A. Diaz J. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Dr. Alan P Venook, a colorectal cancer expert at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved in the research, affirmed that this was a first. He described a full remission in every single case as "unheard-of."
According to the NYT report, individuals in the clinical experiment had previously undergone grueling therapies to eradicate their cancer, including chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive surgery, which might cause bowel, urinary, and even sexual dysfunction.
The 18 patients taking part in the experiment, expected to go through the same procedures as well. However, to their surprise, they didn't require any more treatment after the application of the drug.
"There were a lot of happy tears," said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a co-author of the study, which was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual conference on Sunday.
Dostarlimab is a drug that contains laboratory-made molecules that function as substitute antibodies in the human body. Cancer cells are unmasked by the drug, allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them. The drug cost roughly $11,000 for each dose and was administered every three weeks for six months.
The fact that none of the patients experienced clinically significant problems was also a surprise, according to Dr. Venook. The absence of significant side effects, according to Mr. Venook indicated that “either they did not treat enough patients or, somehow, these cancers are just plain different.”
Regardless, the study's findings are making waves in the medical community. Cancer researchers who reviewed the study told the media outlet that although the treatment looked promising, a larger-scale trial would be needed to assess whether it will work for more people and if the cancers are actually in remission.
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