Breakthrough drug trial leads to remission in rectal cancer patients

Experts call development a first

An experimental medicine has apparently helped patients to get rid of rectal cancer in a breakthrough study.

According to a report in The New York Times, 18 patients in a group were administered with the experimental new drug (Dostarlimab) for six months and in the end all of their tumors disappeared.

Dr. Luis Diaz, the author of the report cited by NYT, told media that there was no other study in which cancer was obliterated in patients and this was the first time that such a thing had happened.

According to Dr. Alan Venook (colorectal cancer specialist), such kind of complete remission in every single patient was unheard of. He said that the absence of side effects was also very crucial but he also raised concern regarding the nature of cancer or number of patients in this experiment.

Dr. Hanna K. Sanoff from University of North Carolina’s Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said that the achievement was small but compelling but she wasn’t sure if the patients were really cured from the disease. Sanoff further said that little was known about the duration of time required to find out whether a clinical complete response to Dostarlimab equates to cure.

According to the NYT report, the patients (part of the study) had previously faced treatments including chemotherapy, radiation and, most likely, life-altering surgery that could result in bowel, urinary and sexual dysfunction.