Experimental drug clears tumors of rectal cancer patients in small trialtext_fields
In what is believed to be the first time in the history of cancer disease, a dozen rectal cancer patients saw their tumors disappear after they received an experimental drug in an unprecedented clinical trial.
According to New York Times, 18 patients took a drug called Dostarlimab for around six months, and in the end, every one of them saw their tumours disappear.
Surprisingly, none of the patients experienced significant side effects from the treatment.
Dostarlimab is a drug with laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies in the human body. All 18 rectal cancer patients were given the same drug and as a result of the treatment, cancer was completely obliterated in every patient - undetectable by physical exam; endoscopy; positron emission tomography or PET scans or MRI scans.
Dr Luis A. Diaz J. of New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center said this was "the first time this has happened in the history of cancer".
As per New York Times, the patients involved in the clinical trial faced grueling previous treatments to obliterate their cancer, such as chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive surgery that could result in the bowel, urinary, and even sexual dysfunction. The 18 patients went into the trial expecting to have to go through these as the next step. However, to their surprise, no further treatment was needed.
The findings are now making waves in the medical world. Speaking to the media outlet, Dr Alan P. Venook, who is a colorectal cancer specialist at the University of California, said that the complete remission in every single patient is "unheard-of". He hailed the research as a world-first. He even noted that it was especially impressive as not all of the patients suffered significant complications from the trial drug.
For the trial, patients took Dostarlimab every three weeks for six months. They were all in similar stages of their cancer - it was locally advanced in the rectum but had not spread to other organs.
Now, the cancer researchers who reviewed the drug told the media outlet that the treatment looks promising, but a larger-scale trial is needed to see if it will work for more patients and if the cancers are truly in remission.