A study has found that a drug named Dostarlimab has helped treat rectal cancer. This has been described as a “first time in history”kind of result in cancer treatment with the disease simply vanishing in patients after the experimental treatment.
- The clinical trial comprised a group of 18 patients. All of them were battling rectal cancer at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, US.
- In all patients, rectal cancer was locally advanced. This means the tumours had spread within the rectum and in some cases, to the lymph nodes, but not to other organs.
- The drug named Dostarlimab was administered to the patients for a period of six months. The medicine was given in prescribed dosages every three weeks for the said period.
- At the end of the trial, cancer was checked for and remained undetected through physical exam, endoscopy, positron emission tomography or PET scans or MRI scans.
- According to New York Times, the medicine costs nearly $11,000 or ₹ 8.55 lakh per dose.
- Dostarlimab works by “unmasking” cancer cells, which in turn helps the immune system identify and destroy them.
- The rectal cancer study was inspired by a clinical trial conducted by Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center led in 2017.
- The patients involved in the clinical trial had undergone previous treatments to manage their cancer, including chemotherapy, radiation, and invasive surgery. Post the trial, they were able to be taken off painful chemotherapy and radiation sessions.
- Patients showed a complete absence of significant post-treatment complications as well as any signs of recurrence of cancer in the patients until 25 months from the end of the trial.
- The study was sponsored by the drug company GlaxoSmithKline.