There's been a massive breakthrough after 18 patients took a drug called Dostarlimab, which vanished their cancer completely.
The 18 patients each had rectal cancer up until they all consumed Dostarlimab for six months. Now, the cancer is undetectable by physical exam, endoscopy, positron emission tomography, PET scans or MRI scans. This marks "the first time this has happened in the history of cancer," Dr Luis A. Diaz J. of New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center told The New York Times. While Dr Alan P. Venook, a colorectal cancer specialist at the University of California, called the results "unheard of."
The patients went into the clinical trial possibly facing "chemotherapy, radiation and, most likely, life-altering surgery that could result in bowel, urinary and sexual dysfunction. Some would need colostomy bags." However, to their surprise, since their tumors disappeared, no further treatment was necessary. Fortunately, no patient had "clinically significant complications."
The medication, which unmasks cancer cells, costs $11,000 USD per dose; it was given to patients every three weeks for six months. Significant side effects were not present, though three to five percent of patients experienced difficulty swallowing and chewing and muscle weakness.
The absence of major symptoms could mean "they did not treat enough patients or, somehow, these cancers are just plain different," said Dr. Venook.
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