A small cancer trial of an innovative drug left every patient free of cancer in what experts call an “unprecedented” success. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that 18 patients with rectal cancer who were given the drug dostarlimab every three weeks for six months became cancer-free, including the first patient who remains in remission two years out from the trial.
“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” said Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr., one of the authors of the study paper, according to The Daily Wire.
“We initiated a prospective phase 2 study in which single-agent dostarlimab, an anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibody, was administered every 3 weeks for 6 months in patients with mismatch repair-deficient stage II or III rectal adenocarcinoma,” the study said. “The treatment was to be followed by standard chemotherapy and surgery.”
Incredibly, the patients who took the drug which “unmasks cancer cells allowing the immune system to destroy them,” did not need further cancer treatment.
Dr. Kimmie Ng, a colorectal expert from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute called the trial results “remarkable” and “unprecedented.”
All the patients “had a clinical complete response, with no evidence of tumor on magnetic resonance imaging,” explained the study paper. “At the time of this report, no patients had received chemoradiotherapy or undergone surgery, and no cases of progression or recurrence had been reported during follow-up (range 6 to 25 months).”
According to Science Daily, Dr. Hanna K. Sanoff, of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, points out that 45,000 people in the U.S. were diagnosed with rectal cancer last year, and many of those cases were in people younger than 65. She adds that historical treatment of the disease, such as radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, can be debilitating. Sanoff, a professor in the UNC School of Medicine Division of Oncology, says that the new study offers hope for these patients.
“These initial findings of the remarkable benefit with the use of dostarlimab are very encouraging but also need to be viewed with caution until the results can be replicated in a larger and more diverse population,” Sanoff said, adding that “although quality of life measures have not been reported yet, it’s encouraging that some of the most difficult symptoms, such as pain and bleeding, all resolved with the use of dostarlimab.”
© 2023 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.