Breakthrough for cancer treatment as US drug trial records ‘100% success’


A United States (US) drug trial involving cancer patients has reportedly recorded 100 percent success.


The patients had rectal cancer, a type of cancer that begins in the rectum, which is the lower end of the large intestine.


According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the trial consisted of 12 patients, all of whom entered remission after taking “dostarlimab” over a six-month period.


Dostarlimab is an immunotherapy drug used in the treatment of endometrial cancer. It works by unmasking cancer cells, allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them.


This clinical trial sought to know whether it could be effective against rectal cancer tumours.


The researchers said the 12 patients received dostarlimab every three weeks for six months and the treatment was to be followed by standard chemoradiotherapy and surgery.


They, however, said six months after the patients stopped taking the medication, they recorded significant improvement.


 “A total of 12 patients have completed treatment with dostarlimab and have undergone at least 6 months of follow-up. All 12 patients (100%; 95% confidence interval, 74 to 100) had a clinical complete response, with no evidence of tumor on magnetic resonance imaging, F-fluorodeoxyglucose–positron-emission tomography, endoscopic evaluation, digital rectal examination, or biopsy,” the researchers said.


“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). No adverse events of grade 3 or higher have been reported.”


The scientists, however, noted that “longer follow-up is needed to assess the duration of response” and therefore cautioned against concluding that the cancer had been eradicated permanently.


Luis Diaz, one of the lead authors of the paper, said he did not know of any other study in which a treatment completely got rid of cancer in every patient.


 “This is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” he said.

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