Miracle cure to cancer: New drug causes tumours to vanish

First time this has ever happened in the history of cancer



By Agencies

Published: Wed 8 Jun 2022, 11:58 AM

Last updated: Fri 10 Jun 2022, 3:06 PM

In what appears to be a miracle and ‘first time in history’, a small clinical trial has found that every single rectal cancer patient, who received an experimental treatment, found that their cancer had vanished.

According to New York Times, in the small clinical trial conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, 18 patients took a drug called Dostarlimab for around six months, and in the end, every one of them saw their tumours disappear. Dr Luis A. Diaz J. of New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre said this was “the first time this has happened in the history of cancer”.

According to experts, Dostarlimab is a drug with laboratory produced molecules and it acts as substitute antibodies in the human body. The cancer is undetectable by physical exam; endoscopy; positron emission tomography or PET scans or MRI scans, added experts. This proves that Dostarlimab can be a ‘potential’ cure for one of the most deadly common cancers.

According to New York Times, patients involved in the clinical trial earlier underwent treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive surgery that could result in bowel, urinary, and even sexual dysfunction.

The 18 patients went into the trial expecting to have to go through these procedures as the next step. However, to their surprise, no further treatment was needed.

One participant, Sascha Roth, was preparing to travel to Manhattan for weeks of radiation therapy when the results came in, Memorial Sloan Kettering said. That’s when doctors gave her the good news: She was now cancer-free.

“I told my family,” Roth told The New York Times. “They didn’t believe me.”

The drug costs about $11,000 per dose, The Times reports. It was administered to each patient every three weeks for six months, and it works by exposing cancer cells so the immune system can identify and destroy them.

“This new treatment is a type of immunotherapy, a treatment that blocks the ‘don’t eat me’ signal on cancer cells enabling the immune system to eliminate them,” CBS News medical contributor Dr David Agus explains.

“The treatment targets a subtype of rectal cancer that has the DNA repair system not working. When this system isn’t working there are more errors in proteins and the immune system recognises these and kills the cancer cells.”

“Amazing to have every patient in a clinical trial respond to

a drug, almost unheard of,” Agus said, adding that it “speaks to the role of personalised medicine — that is identifying a subtype of cancer for a particular treatment, rather than treating all cancers the same.”

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”.

Experts stated that the research was impressive as not all of the patients suffered significant complications from the drug trial.

“There were a lot of happy tears,” said Oncologist Dr Andrea Cercek, describing the moment patients found out they were cancer-free, as quoted by New York Times.

According to doctors, the patients took Dostarlimab every three weeks for six months. “It is noteworthy that they were all in similar stages of their cancer. The cancer was locally advanced in the rectum but had not spread to other organs,” added doctors.

“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,’ researchers wrote in the study published in the media outlet.

Cancer researchers who reviewed the drug told the media outlet that the treatment looks promising, but a larger-scale trial is needed.

Dr Hanna Sanoff, of the University of North Carolina, who was not involved in the research, said the study was “small but compelling”.

In an editorial, she wrote, “These results are cause for great optimism.”

She added, “The research had provided what may be an early glimpse of a revolutionary treatment shift”.

However, she cautioned that “such an approach cannot yet supplant our current curative treatment approach”.

According to her, it remains unclear whether the patients are cured.

“Very little is known about the duration of time needed to find out whether a clinical complete response to Dostarlimab equates to cure,” Dr Sanoff stated.

Dr Kimmie Ng, a colorectal cancer expert at Harvard Medical School, said that the results were “remarkable” and “unprecedented”, but said they would need to be replicated in order to establish their significance.

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