According to the results of a new clinical trial, the cure for rectal cancer may have been found!
This small trial of a seemingly highly efficient drug named dostarlimab included at least 12 patients and was conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
All of the patients involved took dostarlimab and the results were impressive!
More precisely, according to a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine, all of them were cured!
The 12 participants took dostarlimab for six months, every three weeks and then followed it up with at least another 6 months of treatment, as per the same paper.
After the follow-up treatment was over, not a single patient had any evidence of cancer left, which is obviously great news!
And that’s not even all! For some participants, it’s already been more than two years since the treatment, and their cancer has not returned, suggesting that the cure is permanent as well, or at least long-term.
As per the American Cancer Society, Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States and they also estimate that by the end of this year, there will be 44,850 new cases.
Another bleak estimation by the organization is that this year, colorectal cancer will, unfortunately, end up causing 52,580 deaths.
A press release from Memorial Sloan Kettering stated that the patients involved in the trial had tumors with a certain genetic makeup known as MMRd (mismatch repair-deficient.)
According to the same release, MMRd tumors can be found in 5 to 10 percent of rectal cancer patients.
Another detail they shared was that none of the patients involved in the clinical trial needed surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist and one of the co-authors of the paper, Dr. Andrea Cercek, stated during the press release that “It’s incredibly rewarding to get these happy tears and happy emails from the patients in this study who finish treatment and realize, ‘Oh my God, I get to keep all my normal body functions that I feared I might lose to radiation or surgery.'”
Don’t just take our word for it. Hear from four patients who participated in the clinical trial and how it changed their lives. (3/3) #ASCO22 @ASCO @NEJM @AndreCercek pic.twitter.com/TVgejV9avK
— Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (@MSKCancerCenter) June 5, 2022
Another co-author and Memorial Sloan Kettering oncologist, Dr. Luis Diaz, Jr., shared that “It’s really exciting. Longer follow-up is needed to assess the duration of response. I think this is a great step forward for patients.”
Naturally, the results of this trial were positive but since it was such a small scale one, the paper made it clear that “Longer follow-up is needed to assess the duration of response.”