Cancer disappears in every patient during experimental drug research

Patients who took part in an experimental drug trial have all seen their cancers go away, researchers say. Experts behind the trial believe this is the first time every participant in a trial has had a successful outcome.

Although the study was small – 12 people have so far completed more than six months of treatment – the results were described as “remarkably effective” by those conducting the study. The findings were published Sunday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Speaking to the New York Times, one of the authors of the article, Dr. Luis Diaz, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said he knew of no other study that eradicated cancer in every patient. He told them, “I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer.”

During the trial, the patients, all of whom had rectal cancer, received six months of treatment with a drug called dostarlimab. They were given the drug every three weeks.

The New York-led experimental immunotherapy treatment works by unmasking cancer cells. This allows the body’s immune system to fight them off.

When the patients were examined after treatment, they were all found to be in remission. According to the paper, all 12 had a “clinically complete response, with no evidence of tumor on magnetic resonance imaging.” None of the patients required further treatment.

An editorial to the paper called the results “a cause for great optimism”. But despite the results, it insisted it couldn’t call it a cure yet.

Further testing will be performed in other patients with a longer follow-up period. But the researchers added it could provide an “early glimpse of a revolutionary treatment shift.”

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