A new colorectal cancer drug has shocked researchers with how effective it is against the highly dangerous disease, as it virtually cured it in every member of a clinical trial.
Dostarlimab, a monoclonal antibody drug, smashed expectations in a recent trial sponsored by pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
A year after the trial’s completion, each of the 18 participants had their disease go into complete remission, with doctors unable to find signs of the cancer in their body.
While the trial was small, it is game-changing, and sets up the drug as a potential cure for one of the most dangerous common cancers known.
A recent clinical trial of the drug dostarlimab, a monoclonal antibody, found that it virtually cured cancer in every participant (file photo)
‘I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,’ Dr Luis Diaz, one of the lead authors of the paper and an oncologist at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center told the New York Times.
The 18 patients had all gone through previous treatments for colorectal cancer before the trial, including chemotherapy and risky surgeries.
These painful, life-altering, processes generally come with colorectal cancer, a devastating cancer diagnosis that affects 150,000 Americans every year, according to Cancer.net.
It is the third most common type of cancer in the U.S. and kills around 50,000 people every year – the second highest of any cancer.
Patients enrolled in the study received monoclonal antibody treatments every three weeks for six months.
Researchers followed up with the patients 12 months later, and the cancer had seemingly vanished from their bodies, with researchers unable to find signs of tumors with any of their available screening methods.
‘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 New England Journal of Medicine.
While the results of the study are ground breaking, researchers note that the sample size was relatively small and it will take more research to determine whether they have actually stumbled on a cancer cure (file photo)
As a result, all of the participating patients were able to avoid going through more dangerous, taxing, treatments.
‘[The results] enabled us to omit both chemoradiotherapy and surgery and to proceed with observation alone,’ researchers wrote.
Surgery and radiation can have permanent effects on fertility, sexual health, and bowel and bladder function.
‘The implications for quality of life are substantial, especially among patients in whom standard treatment would affect childbearing potential.’
The treatment came with limited negative side-effects as well. Around 20 percent of participants felt an adverse effect, but they were easily managed.
While this study is ground breaking, and looks like doctors may have stumbled onto a cancer cure, they know it is too early to declare this a miracle drug.
‘Although the results of our study are promising, especially given that 12 consecutive patients all had a clinical complete response, the study is small and represents the experience of a single institution,’ they wrote.
‘These findings must be reproduced in a larger prospective cohort that balances academic and community practices and ensures the participation of patients from a diverse set of racial and ethnic backgrounds.’