The new study, which was introduced at the annual summit of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published on Sunday, 5th June in the New England Journal of Medicine, can now change how medicine was practised, says Cancer specialists.
Cancer, a notorious disease that is worried for the immense number of lives it claims, may soon be eliminated.
A drug trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, New York, has shown 100% cancer eradication in patients for the first time.
Despite its small size, the trial has raised hopes that cancer can be completely eliminated without the need for lengthy and painful chemotherapy or surgery.
The results were “incredible” and have given hope to billions of people around the world. Nearly 10 million people have died in 2020, according to the World Health Organization. Cancer was responsible for nearly one out of every six deaths.
In 2020, breast cancer accounted for the majority of new cases (2.26 million), with lung cancer a close second (2.21 million) and colon and rectum cancer patients (1.93 million) following closely behind.
If larger-scale trials obtain similar outcomes, we could be on our way to a cancer-free world.
HOW DOES THE MEDICINE WORK?
Dostarlimab was given to the patients every three weeks for six months. The drug was designed to unleash cancer cells, permitting the body’s immune system to naturally detect and destroy them.
‘Checkpoint inhibitors,’ as these drugs are known, usually cause some sort of side effect in 20% of patients who take them.
Nearly 60% of patients experience severe complications, such as muscle weakness. However, none of the patients in the dostarlimab study had a negative reaction.
The patients’ rectal cancer was locally advanced, meaning the tumours had spread only to the rectum and, in certain cases, to the lymph nodes, not to other organs.
The drug will not be cheap if it is approved for widespread use in the future; trial doses cost $11,000 each, or nearly Rs 8.55 lakh per dose.