According to the New York Times, in the small clinical trial run by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 18 patients took a drug called Dostarlimab for about six months, and in the end, each of them saw their tumors disappear.
Dr Luis A Diaz J of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York said it was “the first time this has happened in the history of cancer”.
According to experts, Dostarlimab is a drug with molecules produced in the laboratory and it acts as surrogate antibodies in the human body.
The cancer is undetectable on physical examination; endoscopy; positron emission tomography or PET or MRI, the experts added. This proves that Dostarlimab may be a “potential” cure for one of the deadliest cancers.
According to the New York Times, the patients involved in the clinical trial have already undergone treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy and invasive surgery that could lead to bowel, urinary and even sexual dysfunction. The 18 patients entered the trial expecting to go through these procedures as the next step. However, to their surprise, no further treatment was needed.
The results of this trial shocked the experts and they pointed out that complete remission in every patient is “unheard of”.
Dr Alan P. Venook, a colorectal cancer specialist at the University of California, said complete remission in every patient is “unheard of”. He hailed the research as a “world first”.
Experts said the research was impressive because not all patients suffered significant complications as a result of the drug trial.
“There were a lot of tears of joy,” said oncologist Dr. Andrea Cercek, describing the moment patients found they were cancer-free, as quoted by The New York Times.
According to the doctors, the patients, during the trial, took Dostarlimab every three weeks for six months. “It should be noted that they were all at similar stages of their cancer. The cancer was locally advanced in the rectum but had not spread to other organs,” the doctors added.
“At the time of this report, no patient had received chemoradiotherapy or undergone surgery, and no cases of progression or recurrence had been reported during follow-up,” the researchers wrote in the study published in The media.
Cancer researchers who reviewed the drug told the media that the treatment showed promise, but a larger trial was needed.