Cancer patients now in remission after drug trial

Cancer patients now in remission after drug trial

Breakthrough.
In what could be a major game changer,
14 patients with advanced rectal cancer
are in remission after taking the same drug.
It’s a small trial,
but so far it had a 100% success rate.
The tumors are gone,
with no chemo, no radiation, no surgery.
Out front now, Dr. Andrea Sersak,
an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
She was part of the research team that conducted this study.
And Dr. Sersak, you know, of course,
when I saw this, I stopped dead.
I think everybody does when they hear the headline
that cancer could be gone.
I mean, it seems impossible.
It certainly is remarkable.
From your perspective,
how remarkable is the outcome you observed?
It’s absolutely incredible.
We didn’t expect it.
We’ve certainly never seen this before.
It’s really what, you know,
cancer doctors dreams are made of
to see a response like this,
such incredible efficacy with really almost no toxicity.
Our patients feeling great after the treatment
with completely normal body function
in something like rectal cancer,
where normally our therapies are really quite toxic.
So it’s absolutely incredible.
So can you tell me more about the drug?
I understand it’s called Dostarlimab,
and why you think it worked?
So it’s an immunotherapy,
and it works by unlocking the body’s natural immune system
to fight cancer.
And this type of therapy works in specific cancer cells
and colorectal that are mismatch repair deficient.
So they lack a gene that enables them to repair their DNA.
And because of that, they have many, many mutations.
And the immune system recognizes the cancer is foreign.
And so when we give immunotherapy like Dostarlimab,
it really just revs up the immune system
so that it sees the cancer and gets rid of it.
But what’s so remarkable here
is that it completely eliminated the cancer.
The tumors just vanished in all 14 consecutive patients.
Normally, when this is used in colorectal cancer
in patients with advanced disease,
that happens in about 10% of patients.
And here it’s 100%.
So that’s really the most striking part of this
is that it happened in every single patient
after just six months of therapy.
So doctor, could it go, this be a broader use?
I mean, you’re talking about rectal cancer specifically,
but I mean, you know, any other type of cancer?
Absolutely, that’s our goal.
You know, the idea here is that we move this therapy
from advanced disease into early stage disease.
And clearly we’re seeing that there is increased sensitivity
when the tumors are early stage,
when they are in their organ, where they begin.
And so our goal is to replicate this in other solid tumors,
such as stomach cancer, pancreas cancer, and bladder cancer
that are mismatch repair deficient,
where they have this potential sensitivity to immunotherapy.
And it can have huge implications,
just as it did in these 14 patients
where they didn’t need radiation
and they didn’t need surgery.
We may be able to achieve that as well
in patients with stomach cancer,
where surgery may not be needed
if they have the same type of, you know,
really remarkable response.
Well, doctor, I really appreciate your time
and explaining this.
I know, obviously it’s 14 people and, you know,
I don’t wanna blow it out of proportion,
but the headline itself is pretty stunning.
And as you point out, remarkable.
Thank you so much for taking the time to explain it.

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