The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers have come up with one of the biggest news regarding finding a cure for cancer in the last few months. The researchers have announced that a subset of 12 patients has seen a 100% recovery from cancer during a drug trial.
Dostarlimab, sold under its brand name, Jemperli, is a drug commonly used against endometrial cancer. But in this case, the drug was administered to patients with rectal cancer. Luis Diaz Jr., the senior author of the paper that announced the results, told The NYT that it is the first time a drug has managed to completely obliterate cancer in the patients.
According to the report, all the patients had tumors with a Mismatch repair deficiency mutation. This makes the patients less reactive to chemotherapy or other methods of treatment and requires doctors to surgically remove the tumors.
“When those mutations accumulate in the tumor, they stimulate the immune system, which attacks the mutation-ridden cancer cells. We thought, ‘Let’s try it before cancer metastasizes as the first line of treatment’,” said Diaz.
The report also said that people who are suffering from this type of cancer, usually suffer lasting consequences from the treatments. Another author of the study, Andrea Cercek said “The standard treatment for rectal cancer with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy can be particularly hard on people because of the location of the tumor. They can suffer life-altering bowel and bladder dysfunction, incontinence, infertility, sexual dysfunction, and more.”
During the study, the 12 patients were given Dostarlimab every three weeks for six months. The chemotherapy and surgery were to follow in case of relapse. However, after six months of follow-up, the researchers have found no signs of the tumors in the patients. Even MRI scans, PET scans, Biopsy, and other tests did not reveal any traces of their disease.
Sascha Roth, one of the 12 patients, said, ” Dr. Cercek told me a team of doctors examined my tests. And since they couldn’t find any signs of cancer, Dr. Cercek said there was no reason to make me endure radiation therapy.”
The test is still in its early stages and is expected to include around 30 patients. As of now, the patients have shown mild signs of rash, itching, and fatigue but none have reported the reappearance of cancer. GlaxoSmithKline, the company that produces Jemperli and also provides the funding for the experiment, is reported to be excited by the preliminary success of the drug.
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