"There were a lot of happy tears": New cancer drug smashes expectations
A new cancer drug has returned phenomenal results after curing almost every patient in the trial phase.
Dostarlimab, a monoclonal antibody drug which produces white blood cells, had already been approved to treat endometrial cancer in the UK.
The cost of Dostarlimab sits at $11,000 (A$15,200) per 500mg dose in the US and has been given to 100 advanced endometrial cancer patients every year.
It was used in the hopes that patients could avoid invasive surgery as well as chemotherapy.
A trial conducted by New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center was looking into whether the drug is effective against rectal cancer tumours.
The trial proved to be a success where all 18 patients went into remission and no cancer was found.
“Our message is: Get tested if you have rectal cancer to see if the tumour is MMRd,” lead author of the paper Dr Luis Diaz said.
“No matter what stage the cancer is, we have a trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering that may help you.”
The researchers explained that no patients had received prior chemoradiotherapy or undergone surgery.
“The results enabled us to omit both chemoradiotherapy and surgery and to proceed with observation alone,” they said.
“The implications for quality of life are substantial, especially among patients in whom standard treatment would affect childbearing potential.”
Dr Andrea Cercek said there were “a lot of happy tears” when patients were told about the success of the drug.