‘Unprecedented’ Cancer Trial Leaves Every Single Patient in Remission

A groundbreaking cancer trial has been hailed as “unprecedented” and “remarkable” after it left every single patient in remission.

According to a paper, published on Sunday in The New England Journal of Medicine, all 18 patients who took part in the study were left cancer-free.

The study involved rectal cancer patients who were given dostarlimab every three weeks for six months.

The patients who took part in the trial all ended up cancer-free, including the first patient who is now two years out from the treatment.

“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” an author of the paper, Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr., said, The New York Times reported.

Another author of the paper, Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, described “a lot of happy tears” at the end of the trial.

While noting the study needs replication, Dr. Kimmie Ng, a colorectal cancer expert at Harvard Medical School, called the trial results “remarkable” and “unprecedented.”

“We initiated a prospective phase 2 study in which single-agent dostarlimab, an anti–PD-1 monoclonal antibody, was administered every 3 weeks for 6 months in patients with mismatch repair-deficient stage II or III rectal adenocarcinoma,” the study said.

“This treatment was to be followed by standard chemoradiotherapy and surgery.”

The drug “unmasks cancer cells, allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them,” according to the Times.

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Those who took the drug did not have to move on to further cancer treatments.

All the patients “had a clinical complete response, with no evidence of tumor on magnetic resonance imaging,” the paper explained.

“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 (range, 6 to 25 months).

“No adverse events of grade 3 or higher have been reported.”

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Hanna K. Sanoff, MD, MPH, advised caution but said the findings were “very encouraging,” according to Science Daily.

“These initial findings of the remarkable benefit with the use of dostarlimab are very encouraging but also need to be viewed with caution until the results can be replicated in a larger and more diverse population,” Sanoff said.

“The responses in these first 12 of a planned-for 30 patients in the trial were remarkable and exceed what we would expect with the standard chemotherapy plus radiation,” she continued.

“Although quality of life measures have not been reported yet, it’s encouraging that some of the most difficult symptoms, such as pain and bleeding, all resolved with the use of dostarlimab.”

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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