A new cancer drug trial has achieved a result no one has seen before: the total remission of cancer in all of its patients.
The small NYC-based trial completed treatment on 18 patients, all of whom had rectal cancer in its early stages with a rare mutation. Of the patients, every single one entered remission following treatment.
“I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer,” said Dr. Luis Diaz Jr., the senior study author and an oncologist at Memorial Sloan, to the New York Times.
Dr. Alan P. Venook, a colorectal cancer specialist at the University of California-San Francisco, said this shocking result is “unheard-of.”
Dostarlimab works by unmasking cancer cells, which allows the immune system to identify and destroy them. In addition to allowing patients to enter into complete remission, the drug, known as dostarlimab, seems to be the only treatment required for patients. Of the 18 tested individuals, there were no additional surgeries or chemotherapy treatments, no severe side effects and, most importantly, no trace of cancer whatsoever in patients’ bodies.
However, the medication isn’t cheap, in time or in money. Dostarlimab was administered every three weeks for six months, and cost about $11,000 per dose. If the drug passes the trial, it could be difficult to access for those in need.
While cancer can affect all people for a variety of reasons, statistically cancer appears more frequently in men and women above the age of 45. If the trial continues to produce successful results, Millennials and Gen Z could be the first generations to ever have access to a true cure available as they enter the “at-risk” age for cancer.
The team of doctors shared their optimism with the New York Times, but also clarified they would need to replicate and expand their research before determining if this is truly the cure the world has been praying for. Time will tell