For the first time in history, a small group of people with rectal cancer in the United States showed 100% recovery from the disease. Although the trial was done on a small scale, including 18 patients, it has raised hopes that we may finally rid the world of this dreaded disease.
The Drug That Can Cure Cancer?
As per a study published in the journal New England Journal of Medicine, a drug named Dostarlimab was given to 18 rectal cancer patients at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan for around six months. The drug was given in prescribed dosages every three weeks for the said period. According to the scientists involved in the study, rectal cancer was locally advanced in all the patients but had not spread to other organs. The report also states that the patients have undergone various cancer treatments before, including chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive surgery.
At the end of the six-month trial, the cancer was checked in each patient but remained undetected through a physical exam, endoscopy, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, or MRI scans. Incredibly, none of the patients showed any signs of recurrence of cancer even after 25 months from the end of the trial. What’s more, the patients won’t require any further treatment, according to the scientists.
Experts say that the complete remission in every single patient is “unheard-of”. Dr. Alan P. Venook, who is a colorectal cancer specialist at the University of California, hailed the research as a “world-first.” He added that the trial was especially praiseworthy because not all of the patients experienced any significant complications from the trial drug.
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".
Dostarlimab is a drug with laboratory-produced molecules that act as substitute antibodies in the human body. Experts explain that the drug works by "unmasking" cancer cells. This, in turn, helps the immune system identify and destroy those harmful cells.
The findings are now making waves in the medical world. The study shows that Dostarlimab has the potential to be a game-changer in cancer treatment. It can be a possible cancer cure for rectal cancer and may even provide answers for eliminating other forms of cancer.
A Note of Caution
Cancer researchers who studied the drug say that, while it looks promising, a larger-scale trial and long-term monitoring of the patients is required to understand if the cancers are truly in remission. Another point worth noting is that the drug costs nearly $11,000 per dose, making it unaffordable to the general public.
However, one can’t overlook the possibilities the study has put forward. Apart from promising a cancer-free life to patients, the drug also offers hope that they won’t have to undergo painful chemotherapy and radiation sessions after the treatment.
All eyes will now be on future studies of Dostarlimab. If the drug produces similar results in large-scale studies, it can provide a comprehensive and fast cure for cancer with fewer side effects than other therapies.
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