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Colorectal cancer: 18 patients entered complete remission after participating in a clinical trial

Patients thought they would have to undergo treatments and surgery even after the study, but it was not necessary: no signs of cancer were detected after taking the drug dostarlimab.

Eighteen people diagnosed with colorectal cancer went into complete remission after participating in a clinical trial of a new drug. An unprecedented result considered the author of the study that was published this Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine, to the American newspaper New York Times.

Patients with colorectal cancer, as a rule, undergo treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and even surgical interventions. These surgeries can lead to erectile, bladder, and urinary tract dysfunction and even colostomy, an opening created in the colon to the outside in order to allow fecal content to escape. Patients in this study, sponsored by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, did not undergo these treatments or surgical interventions but were counting on it to happen after the clinical trial, which turned out not to be necessary.

After six months of taking dostarlimab three times a week, there were no signs of a tumor in the various tests they underwent — endoscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging, among others. This drug, which costs around €10,000 ($11,000) per dose, makes tumor cells detectable, thus allowing the immune system to identify and destroy them.

“I think this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” study author Luis A. Diaz Jr., from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told the New York Times. Alan P. Vennok, a specialist in colorectal cancer at the University of California, who was not involved in the study, also confessed that he had never heard of a study where a complete remission was verified in all patients.

However, it is still too early to know whether these patients are effectively cured: “Very little is known about how long it will take to understand whether the clinical response to dostarlimab equates to cure”, said Hanna K. Sanoff of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, from the University of North Carolina.

Source: With Agencies

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